Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top 10 posts of 2014!

I do love an aul snoop through my stats to see which blog posts were the most popular every month and it helps me see what you like to read so I can do more posts like them!  If you're new to blogging or want to start keeping track of things, install Google Analytics because the stats are much more accurate than Blogger stats.  I've got a series coming up on all things to do with blogs and will go through that in more detail.  But for now, these are the things that you enjoyed reading on Lovely Girlie Bits in 2014!

As Dermot would say, in no particular order, we have:

Maybelline Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencils - These lip pencils are to die for and I always have one or two hanging around in my handbag for any statement lip emergencies!  Non drying, super pigmented and completely affordable, they're one of the best releases of 2014.

The Slimming World Mushy Pea Curry - Not beauty related at all but this post proved to be very
popular altogether!  I still maker this all the time and shall make it lots in 2015 because it's tasty, healthy and really cheap to make!

Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream - This is one of my favourite bases of the year and one I repurchased when I ran out of the sample, so that's saying something!

Rimmel Provocalips - One of my favourite lip products of the year, these hybrid lip lacquer/lip glosses pack a punch in terms of pigmentation and longevity.  Seriously, they do not move so if you're looking for something that'll stand the test of time, literally, then give them a go.

Kiko dupe for By Terry Ombre Blackstar - I do love a good dupe and this one is a corker!  The famous Ombre Blackstars from By Terry were a hit across the blogosphere in 2014 and this dupe from Kiko will save you money and you won't be able to tell the difference in the two, guaranteed!

Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde Mascara - One of my favourite mascaras of the year, this beaut from Bourjois solidified the fact that they do affordable mascaras like no other brand!  The photos speak for themselves so go on and have a squizz for yourself.

Smashbox Full Exposure palette - This stunner of a palette has been in constant rotation on my eyeballs for the whole year.  I've done makeup tutorials with it, bought it for friends, and basically proclaimed my love for it to anyone who'll listen!

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet - Another brilliant launch from Bourjois this year was their Rouge Edition Velvets and I think they got everyone on the matte lip bandwagon in 2014!  If you haven't tried them yet, then what are you waiting for!

L'Oreal Exclusive Collection Pure Reds - 2014 was the year that I got more comfortable wearing red lips and sported them quite frequently on YouTube.  2015 is the year I'll wear them outside the house in real life and it's because of lippies like this....  Beautiful!

Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita palette - My favourite palette of the year even though I only got it in September.  If you have eyeballs, you need this and I love it so much!

Those were the things people searched for, read and commented on this year!  Thanks for reading them all!

My 2014 blogging highlights!

With the exception of January which was the longest month in the history of life, this year flew by!  We had lots of excitement in real life, but I wanted to look back over 2014 in terms of blogging in today's post.  It's usually at this time of the year where I reflect over how I felt things went and really take in everything that's happened.

In January I went to a photoshoot with Smashbox where I had my hair and makeup done, (makeup courtesy of Janine Bird, my favourite MUA ever!) and had my photo taken by Davis Factor.  It was the most surreal experience ever and I felt like such an eejit standing there not knowing how to pose!  All of my America's Next Top Model research went out the window...  But I loved my hair and makeup and had the best time with some of my fellow bloggers and the whole Smashbox team.  We were sent copies of the photos taken that day, complete with one that was super Photoshopped and I loved it!  Bye bye double chin eh!

In June, the blog won Most Aussome Beauty Blog and Most Aussome Blog in the Aussie Blog Awards where we won a trip to Australia!  Now that we've time over Christmas, we'll be organising our trip down under!  We vlogged the evening and as I mentioned then, you could have knocked me over with a feather when they called out Lovely Girlie Bits.  And because I'm a wuss and got overwhelmed, I teared up a bit.  Winning awards is never what this is all about, but it's always nice to have recognition for the amount of work that goes into keeping this little corner of the internet going.

The blog also won Best Beauty Blog in the Blog Awards and again, I wasn't expecting it at all.  The evening started off wonky as my car died on the way into town and I'd to leave it parked on the side of the road while we got a taxi into the city centre.  So my head was all over the place as it was, and when they called out Lovely Girlie Bits, I was dazed and confused!  But I didn't cry!  I did have a lump in my throat though but managed to keep the tears inside this time! Thanks to everyone who voted for us, you made the end of a stressful evening so much nicer!

I got to meet skincare guru Caroline Hirons when she was over in Dublin a few months ago.  I could seriously sit and listen to her talk about products all night and I'd a million questions for her that evening!  You can read her blog here and don't blame me if two hours pass by without you realising because you'll have learned so much from her, so shh!  She's funny, witty, explains things so that you actually have a baldy notion of what's going on with skincare and really knows her stuff.

When I got the email seeing if I wanted to meet Charlotte Tilbury this year, I actually squeaked out loud.  My boss looked at me funny but knew that I must've gotten a special email and wouldn't you know, the day Charlotte was in town, it was lashing, I looked like a drowned rat, but it didn't matter!  Charlotte is one of the most passionate women out there that I've had the chance to meet and lives and breathes her work.  I've a vlog showing her in action that I'll edit and upload in the new year but doesn't she know how to work a selfie!

I started blogging for the Irish Country Living website which was really exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time because I'm always scared I'll let people down when I write for them and push myself to make the pieces the best they can be.  It's one thing blogging for yourself, but another doing it for someone else and I love it!  You can read my most recent piece here and stay tuned for next month's post!

In terms of the blog itself, I managed to hoof out 326 blog posts.  I tried to do my usual 5 posts a week and then do at least one video, but as life got in the way, I had to cut back a bit.  Quality over quantity dontcha know.  I have a plan of how I want 2015 to go in terms of blogging and I can't wait to watch it unfold.   I might start back doing the Slimming World posts and videos, but as usual, this is a beauty blog and if that part of things starts to suffer, I'll be cutting back on any non beauty things for now.  I've a lot of things in the works for next year, so I hope you keep coming back to Lovely Girlie Bits because I'm fired up and ready to tell you about all the things!

Thank you for sticking around with us for the past year.  You guys keep me going with your comments, emails, tweets, Instagram comments and you are the ones I can't wait to tell when a new product knocks my socks off!  I hope you hang around in 2015 because I've loved having you and have lots in store for you next year!

Quick and easy New Year's Eve makeup look!

I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of New Year's Eve.  I think it's a big load of hoohaa for one night and I much prefer staying in because I'm allergic to going out, especially to town on New Year's Eve... The effort of life.  This year we're having a quiet family night in but I'll still be doing my makeup and ever since I bought my very first Laura Mercier products in New York thanks to Mark in Space NK Grafton Street back in November, I knew I'd be wearing them on the last night of 2014.  Give me anything dark and smokey and I'm all over it!

This is what my face will look like tonight.  I might have a bit of glitter on the eyelids because if you can't wear glitter tonight, then what's the point in life?

These are the bits that I picked up from Laura Mercier.  I bought the Black Diamond set which has a mini cream eyeshadow that's black with fine gold shimmer running through it, a mini black eyeliner and mini mascara.  And because Mark showed me what that single eyeshadow, Black Karat, looked like layered over the top of the cream shadow, I had to get it like the lunatic with too much makeup that I am!  So this is all you need for the eyeballs and if you don't have them, substitute as you wish.

This takes minutes.  Five minutes max.  So few minutes that I was glad I didn't film it for a video or you'd have thought I was taking le piss.

1.  Using your finger, apply the cream eyeshadow all over the lid, packing it on to the lower lid and then blend it into the crease using a fluffy brush to create a gradient.
2.  Apply a second coat if you need to and take it under the lower lash line to give the powder eyeshadow something to stick to.  The cream eyeshadow is quite sheer so it's definitely one I'd only use as a base.
3.  Apply Black Karat on top of the cream eyeshadow and apply as much or as little as you want.  I applied one layer, decided it wasn't gold enough, so applied a second layer, but this time wet the brush, giving a foiled, metallic finish to the look.
4.  Line the upper and lower waterline.  We're going for sexy eyeballs tonight.  Do it.  Worry about how to get it off later.  If you're feeling adventurous, lightly line the upper lash line to define the eyes a bit more.

Apply two coats of mascara and that's it.  I'd no interest whatsoever in doing winged liner at all at all because I wanted the eyeshadow to be the star of the show.  It's something that will work on all eye colours and really is easy to do.   You can make it as dramatic or as natural as you like, let your makeup brush be your guide!

I took a bit of bronzer into my crease to soften the edges a bit and then the rest of my face is the usual.  Estee Lauder Double Wear in Ecru, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette all over my visage using the darker shade to contour and the lightest shade to highlight.  I used the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette in Incandescent Electra on my cheeks before lashing on my Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon in Glace, topped with Charlotte Tilbury's lipgloss in Sweet Stiletto.  Oh, of course the eyebrows are Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz as per usual.

Happy New Year and whether you're going out or staying in, I hope you've lovely evening and go on and pack on the makeup, all bets are off tonight!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My 2015 New Year's Resolutions!

I love reading people's new year's resolutions posts and watching their videos so much.  Seeing someone feeling positive about the future, wanting to better themselves and taking the time to gather their thoughts and put it out there makes me happy.  There are so many people out there who roll their eyes at people making resolutions for the new year and to them I say "Who cares?!"  Who cares if people say they want to lose weight or save money?  Is it affecting your life in any way?  Not at all!  I make resolutions all the time during the year, mostly every Monday as I see the week ahead as a blank slate.  But I love having the year ahead of me and figuring out what I want to do differently!  It's like turning over the page on a calendar and seeing a whole month ready for you to get stuck in to.

So behold the things that I would like to accomplish in 2015!  If I stick to them, great, if not, I tried!

Comment on other blogs more and reply to blog and YouTube comments.  Also, be more diligent about replying to texts and emails.
I completely let this slide in the second half of 2014 and got so overwhelmed with everything I wasn't doing.  I'm a thick for getting a text or email, usually at work when I can't have my phone on the desk, I mentally reply to it and then forget to actually reply for days.  It annoys me that I do this and so I'm going to make a concerted effort to keep on top of things.  Having time off over Christmas to regroup and feel ready to tackle life is exactly what I needed!

Let the arseholes be arseholes.
I spent a lot of time this year worrying about what people thought of me, working myself up into a state of anxiety at the thought of going to events.  I had to stop going to things, not wanting to put myself in the position of feeling sick with worry and to not have my bloggy friends be in the middle of horrible atmospheres.  A wise bridie once said to me that you can't control what others do, and not to let them spoil the great things that are happening and I let others get the better of me.  So thanks for the Stellar advice Kirstie (did you see what I did there?!)  Enough shite, it's time to focus on the good things in life and have the absolute craic with my friends.  If I've learned one thing in 2014 that I'll be carrying over to 2015, it's to cut out negativity - in real life and online.  It really has made a huge difference in my mental health to just remove myself from it all and so next year I can't let myself feel like that again.  I'll do me and you do you, that's my motto!

Say "yes" more.
That's kind of following on from above.  I said no to a lot of things in 2014 and that's my own fault for not feeling strong enough to deal with things.  I'll be saying yes to more things, pushing myself outside my comfort zone, taking chances and seeing where the chips fall.  Now I want chips.  And a battered sausage....

Say "no" more.
Totally contradicting myself but sometimes I feel obliged to do things or agree to things because I'm worried what the other person will think of me.  Then I get a knot in my stomach at the thought of said things and I get annoyed at myself for being such a people pleasing wuss.  I need to get it through my head that it's ok to say no and to put myself first sometimes.  So if I say no to you, just know I'm just doing it to stick to this resolution!

Be more active.
I'm a hoor for sitting on the couch blogging and messing about online wasting time.  If I don't do something active as soon as I get home, it doesn't happen and this is especially true during the winter when it's dark all the time.  I want to do something physical when I get home from work, be it an exercise dvd, a spot of tidying up or doing a clear out.  I want to move more and that's the crux of it.  How cool would it be to start running and run a race?  Maybe I'll give that a whirl, the year is my lobster!

Be grateful.
One of my PR pals and real life pals Paula told me about taking time each day to think about what you're grateful for.  There seems to be a big buzz when it comes to mindfulness at the moment and so each day I want to sit for a few minutes before bed and write down the things I'm grateful for, the little things that made me smile and made my day better.  It's easy to get bogged down with the negative things and I want to make sure I don't let that happen in 2015, so I've a special notebook for this task and I've already started keeping notes.

Believe in myself.
I forget sometimes of what I'm capable of.  I can get scared at what seems like a monumental task ahead of me, but once I get stuck in, the feeling afterwards is brilliant.  2015 is going to be a year of uncertainty and change for me and I'm not going to lie, I'm not entirely looking forward to it, but I'm going to get stuck in and believe that I'll be able to handle it.  In terms of the blog, the same applies in that I need to believe in myself more!  Sometimes my confidence wavers and I feel undeserving of the success of the blog and the awards that it's won, but I need to cop on and remember the amount of time and effort that goes into it.  Some out there try to take advantage of bloggers, thinking that we're nowt more than free advertising for their products, so I need to step up more, know my value and believe in myself.  Jesus I sound like Beyonce or sommat now.

Read more.
I blame Sharon and Chloe for this one.  No, blame isn't the word, I thank Sharon and Chloe for this one.  These two lovely ladies blog about books between their beauty musings and inspire me to read all the time.  I used to read all the time and I've spoken about it before but dad used to be a bookbinder and would always be bringing home books for us to read, so I know I can do it!  It's easy for me to be lazy and arse about online for hours a night, but I want to make better use of my free time and reading is a pretty great start wouldn't you say?  Any excuse to browse Amazon eh!

Take stock.
This is all Lily Pebbles' fault.  In one of her Vlogmas videos and in her December favourites video, she spoke about scrapbooking,  keeping track of all the great things that's happened in the past year and I loved the idea of keeping everything in one place.  So the other day, I placed an order for a Life Project scrapbooking set and can't wait to take more photos of non beauty things, actually print pictures out and have something I can look back over this time next year.  2014 would have been a great year to do this for, but hopefully 2015 will be just as exciting!  I want to get into photography more and with my new lens, I've no excuse.

So those are my resolutions for 2015!  If I remember, I might do a 6 month checkup to see how I'm doing and sure we'll see what happens!  Have you made any resolutions for the year ahead?


Sunday, December 28, 2014

My favourite videos from Lovely Girlie Bits 2014!

2014 was the year that we got more into the whole YouTube thing and it's safe to say that we have lots of video plans for 2015!  I love filming beauty videos, vlogging, editing and the whole creative process itself and want to up my game next year and give you guys some great things to watch.

We hit 100 videos a few weeks back and I thought I'd run through my favourite videos of 2014 from us. I had 10 picked, then found number 11, so had to include it!  I think my favourite videos of 2014 has more of a ring to it than my top 11 videos!  Make sure you subscribe to our channel so you don't miss out on any new videos!

The wedding

Joanne and Will got married this year and as they didn't have a videographer, I was the chief cinematographer for the day!  It truly was an amazing day and this video took so long to edit because I was bawling every time I went to work on it and I wanted to do it justice.  I still tear up when I watch it because it was such a magical and special day.  I mostly use YouTube's royalty free music for videos and I'm such a sap that when I hear the music I used in the start of this video in someone else's video, my eyeballs start leaking again.  Scarlet for me!  The wedding feels like it was ages ago and was the best day ever.  This is by far my favourite video of the year by a mile and we did some vlogs leading up to the big day so make sure to go back and watch them too.

10 beauty dupes

I raided my stash and found 10 affordable dupes for high end products.  It was quite a feat but nothing pleases me more than finding cheaper alternatives and telling you all about them!  I'm slowly collecting more for the next dupe-tacular video because we all know that January and February are painful months when it comes to finances and yet we never tire of wanting more makeup!

Charlotte Tilbury introduction & demo

I'm not going to lie, when I heard that Charlotte Tilbury was coming to Ireland, I lost the run of myself and thankfully, the products lived up to the hype big time!  If you're a reader of the blog, you'll have read lots of reviews so far and I'll have more soon because seriously, Charlotte knows how to make gorgeous products.  Totally on the luxury end of the scale but absolutely worth it in my opinion.  So I had to film an introduction video showing how I use some of the products I was given and bought.

The Aussie Blog Awards

One of the most surreal nights of the year was when we won Most Aussome Beauty Blog at the Aussie Blog Awards in association with  We decided to film it for the craic, thinking it'd be a nice evening out and would be a snippet of a weekly vlog.  As you'll see, I got a squidgy bit overwhelmed from shock of winning and the tears flowed out of my face again.  A mad night altogether and now we've to plan our trip to Australia for next year!

Joanne's Hen Do

We decided to film Joanne's Hen Do and bring you along with us for the craic!  And then filmed little explanation clips where we talked you through the day because we had the best day ever (apart from le wedding itself)!  You see what we did for Joanne that day and the little presents and mementos we got her, so Lorraine and I made fabaliss bridesmaids altogether!

The Jelly Bean Challenge

Why did two grown ass women decide to film themselves eating manky Jelly Beans?  For the craic and because we are gobshites!  I can't watch it without crying with laughter!  My stomach wasn't right for about two days afterwards and we paid the price in that regards!

My Spending Ban Haul

You all know Mags by now, one of my bestest bloggy pals and fellow beauty junkie/enabler extraordinaire.  Well, she and I are on a constant spending ban as we have an insane need for more makeup, even though we could open our own Sephora with everything we own.  So early 2014, we decided to go on a proper spending ban, one where we could only buy necessities and we said we'd text each other if we thought we were going to break said ban.  I broke it.  I broke it so hard and so had to fess up and film this video - sorry Mags!

5 minute curls tutorial

I found this tutorial on Pinterest earlier this year and decided to film a tutorial because it's the quickest and easiest way to get a full head of curls!  I use this technique every time I want to curl my locks and so whenever you see anything remotely curly on my noggin, this is how I'll have done it.

Image Blog Awards / Boots Christmas 2014

Another insanely surreal night where my car died on the way into town, the blog won Best Beauty Blog in the Image Blog Awards and I hadn't an inkling we were going to win, otherwise I'd have worn a dress at least!  We got to go to Boots' Christmas showcase the following day which literally had me as giddy as a child because we all know that Boots is especially amazing for presents during the festive season!

Disappointing products

This video proved really popular with people and I'd so many comments and emails thanking me for filming it.  I find it much more enjoyable to blog and film videos on things I love, less so when it comes to things I don't like or don't have an opinion on.  I'd written blog posts in the past on products that made me go meh, but thought I'd be able to explain things better and be a bit funnier in a video, and I think I'll be doing more of these in the future!  Not everything works for everyone, and I've handed most of these products over to better homes!

The Slimming World Mushy Pea Curry

It sounds like gick but it's gorgeous.  Trust moi.  I've completely fallen off the Slimming World bandwagon recently as life got in the way and my focus was elsewhere.  I'm ready to get back on track and shall be watching my own video for motivation, inspiration and to get cracking.  So if you want to see more Slimming World videos, let us know!

And there you have it.  I'm proud of each and every video we upload to our channel and have a million ideas of what I want to film next year.  If you've any video requests, leave a comment below and stay tuned for my December favourites and 2014 favourites videos coming up soon!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

My top picks from the Space NK sale!

If all has gone to plan, by the time you're reading this, you'll be in a food coma and the last thing you'll want to do is leave the house for another day or two!  I live in pyjamas over Christmas and girlfriend ain't moving anytime soon.  But here are bargains to be had and thanks to living in the future, well, a time that has online shopping, I don't have to leave my couch or fleece things to pick up some beauty products that I don't necessarily need but absolutely want.  And Space NK is top of the list this year.  So I'm bringing you some of my top picks from their sale which heavily features Laura Mercier this year!

Kiehls Oil Eliminator Collectionwas £30, now £15 is for the boys who want to give the heave ho to oil on their mushes.  I'll be checking with my bro as to what his skin type is.

Laura Mercier Eye Canvas, was £22.50, now £11 - These eyeshadow bases help your eyeshadow last longer, prevents creasing and evens out the lids to give a flawless base.  All the more reason to pack on the shadow eh?

Ren Kit for Combination Skinwas £12, now £6 - Sets like this are the perfect way to try out new products for your skin without breaking the bank.  This set has a Balancing Day Fluid, a Control Cleansing Gel and a Detox Mask.

Life Daily Fix Lip Care, was £8.50, now £4 - I am obsessed with this lip balm and will be buying numerous backups in the sale because it's fantastic!  It'll be in my 2014 favourites, such is my love for it.

Chantecaille Real Skin Compact, was £47, now £23.50 - This intrigued me because it's a powder foundation with light reflecting particles, emollient amino acids and vitamin E which sounds like the perfect blend of makeup and skincare.

Laura Mercier Artist's Palette for Eyes & Cheeks, was £45, now £22.50 - What a bargain for this beautiful palette with 8 eyeshadows and a wonderful rose gold cheek colour!

Ren F10 Enzymatic Smooth Radiance Facial mask, was £20, now £10 - Being a massive fan of Ren's Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask, this mask needs to be next on my list of things to try from Ren.

Laura Mercier Loose Mineral Powder, was £26, now £13.  Despite not being a big fan of mineral makeup, I had to include this because it's Laura Mercier and it's half price!

Laura Mercier Body & Bath Duet, Golden Honey Musk - was £35, now £17.50.  This luxurious set makes me want to forget the water charges and run a bath!

Laura Mercier Creme Eye Liner - was £19, now £9.50.  Again, Laura Mercier comes up trumps and this little beaut is perfect for those ready to get their feline flick on.

Ren Anti-Ageing Kit, was £75, £37.50 - if I can delay the ageing process ever so slightly, I'm happy out.  I plan to age gracefully and things like this will help that happen!

Laguna Coral Medium Flat Pouchwas £22, now £11.  I love makeup bags and I love anything coral.  I need this.

Laura Mercier Body & Bath Luxe Quartet, Tarte Au Citron - was £55, now £27.50.  Is it wrong I want this for Christmas next year?!

Careyes Medium Zip Cosmetic Bag, was £34, now £17.  Again with the makeup bags!  This colourful beauty is fab.

Ren Neroli Duo Gift Set, was £28, now £14.  I love Ren and all things Neroli.  It's the perfect summery scent and I might have to pick this up and put it aside for warmer days.

Space NK Vetiver Cedar Candle, was £30, now £15.  This candle sounds positively posh and sophisticated like myself!

Laura Mercier Creme Eye Colour - was £19, now 9.50.  Cream eyeshadows make a great base for powder shadows or could be used as a soft wash of colour all over the lids.

Laura Mercier Bronzing Pressed Powder - was £26, now £13.  This looks gorgeous and I'd probably be sad to mess it up by using it!

Ren Sensitive Skin Travel Set - was £56, now £28.  Those with sensitive skin might like to check this set out and as it's a travel set, it means you need to book a holiday so that you can bring it with you!

Elemental Herbology Pure Essentials Set, was £25, now £12.50.  Perfect for hands and lips and in the winter, they're the first things to suffer with me, so definitely one to check out.

Chantecaille Real Skin - Glow - was £47, now £23.50.  I'm all about something that gives a natural glow to the skin and love the sounds of this.  A light reflective micro-particle powder?  Get on my face!

Laura Mercier Shimmer Block - was £32, now £16 - You can use this on your eyes, face and body, making it the perfect multitasking product and at half price, one to check out!  I have a mini version of this from a Sephora set and love it for giving a wash of colour on my lids and to highlight my cheeks.

So will you be partaking in anything on this list or will I be the only one bargain hunting??!  Happy shopping!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas from Lovely Girlie Bits!

'Tis nearly Christmas, can you believe it!  I've slowly been winding down as the end of the year approaches and wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas from me, Joanne and Bailey of course, the star of the show!  I'll be taking a break from regular blogging, but might pop up a few posts between now and the new year because I'll have more time to recharge the batteries, get the creative juices going and get inspired and organised again.

But for now, we hope you have a lovely Christmas and a peaceful new year.  I know that sounds like such a bridie thing to say but there's nothing I love more at this time of year than taking it easy with friends and family.  Snuggle up, eat lots, and have a ball!  And with that, I leave you with a photo I took of Bailey a couple of years ago with tacky tinsel on his head.  He wishes you a Merry Christmas!

PS - We can't wait for Christmas dinner this year, what's your favourite thing about Christmas?  If you're feeling festive, then have a squizz at our Christmas tag video where we tell you everything you need to know about us and Christmas.  Essentially, we love PJs, Christmas dinner and vegging out!


Monday, December 22, 2014

New York drug store, CCO & Stila haul!

Part two of my New York beauty shopping is ready for your viewing pleasure!  Again, Orla was highly influential in terms of my purchases and I think I was very restrained in the grand scheme of things.  I like to pretend it was restraint, but really, I spent lots of money in Kate Spade instead!

So have a look at the makeup I bought everywhere except Sephora.  You can click here to watch the Sephora haul and I've been making my way through the things I've bought over the last couple of weeks, so in the new year, I'll be able to review them all properly for you.  I realised that I didn't buy any skincare products at all and I think it's because my skincare routine is pretty perfect right now and you can read all about that here if you're on the hunt for new products for your visage.

But makeup.  I love it, I bought it, I can't wait to pile it all on my face.  Watch me waffle on like a good thing in my video!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide!

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


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

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, December 15, 2014

My Sephora haul!

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

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


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Our Christmas Gift Guide! #LovelyJinglyBits

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

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


Products mentioned:

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

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

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

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

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

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

Answer:  Yes it big fat does!

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

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

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

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

Behold the eight superstars that I love lots.

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

Morning skincare.

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

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

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

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

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

Night time skincare.

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

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

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

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

Yon-ka Guarana Scrub

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

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

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

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

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