Friday, April 29, 2016

CND Spa Collection - your manicure just got fancier!

STOP!  Pamper time!  Ok, let me calm down for a second and explain.  When is a manicure not just a manicure?  When you get bells and whistles on top of getting your nails painted AND you can get all of this fabulousness during your lunch hour.  Yes, there are times when we'd like to take time off work, book ourselves into a spa and get the full works, but the truth is we're busier than ever and still want to pamper ourselves at full capacity, but also keep our annual leave in tack.

Enter the CND Spa Collection!  Made up of four products which promise to give you the spa experience without actually having to take the day off work, getting your nails done has gone to a whole other level.

I got to try out the CND Spa Collection recently and I think it's ruined me for future manicures.  From now on, I'm going to want to have my nails and hands cleansed in a sea salt soak followed by having a scrub massaged in, leaving my hands feeling soft and smooth.  But that's not all.  I will then be very perturbed if I do not get a mask painted onto my hands, wrapping them in warmed mitts while getting a head and shoulder massage that I will be forced to make sure I don't drool during, before having a gorgeously delicately scented lotion massaged into my hands and arms.  And that's before the actual painting of the nails.

There are two scents in the CND Spa Collection, Bright Citron which is zesty, uplifting and will restore radiance to the skin and Gardenia Woods which hydrates and softens the skin.  I had my spa experience done with the Gardenia Woods products as I always have a gra delicate white florals in spring.

I picked a coral polish for the actual manicure, Tropix, one of the Vinylux polishes (which you can see over on my Instagram) and it lasted about 5.5 days before chipping occured.  I know this to be true because we had a daily check in at work while we investigated my nails.

The CND Spa Collection is available from CND salons nationwide and if you're looking for some pamper time, then book yourself in for a spa experience and prepare to want the works each and every time you get your nails done!


Thursday, April 28, 2016

My Burberry EDP review - perfect for spring and summer!

Do you ever spray a perfume on yourself and instantly feel like a grown up?  All sophisticated and ladylike?  If not, you're missing out big time on the transformative powers of perfume because when I spray My Burberry, I have to stop myself from doing everything with my pinky up.

It's supposed to be reminiscent of a London garden after the rain which instantly made me think it'd be more grassy and green smelling, but to me, it's more floral than green.  Less garden-y, more white floral-y.  Either way, it's fresh, clean and perfect for spring and summer.  And heads up, you don't need to spray much of this as it's super strong in the nostril department so if you share an office with someone, softly softly with this one.  It lasts for ages and prepare to be told that you're smelling only massive for the entire day.

Usually when I hear fruity floral, I instantly think "Ah, this is for the chung wans" but lads, either I'm now a chung wan, or Burberry have developed a grown up fruity floral that's heavy on the floral, lighter on the fruit.  I'll let you decide which is true...

It has notes including sweet pea, bergamot, freesia, patchouli and the very exotic sounding rain-tipped damask and centifolia roses.  Even they sound fancy schmancy and grown up don't they?

I bought mine in Debenhams earlier this year and love everything about it.  I mean look at the bottle.  It's classic (like me), has its own little bow on it which I'm deciding is a scarf (like me) and has a two toned lid, just like my unintentional two toned hair.  We were made for each other and I have Nicola in work to thank for introducing us.  I had her tormented every day telling her she smelled gorgeous and eventually a bottle had to be mine to add to the collection.

So just know that if you ever see me walking gracefully, being able to eat something without dropping it all over myself and say hi with the Queen's wave, it's because I'm a grown up and am wearing My Burberry.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Clarins Joli Rouge Brilliant lipsticks - summer lip perfection!

I know matte lips are still having their moment, but I will always have a soft spot for anything glossy.  And if you add in a sheer finish, then I'm all over it.  I think it's the lazy oaf in me who likes to be able to lash a layer on while I'm at my desk, when I'm on the go, or if I need to top up before a quick selfie.  I like easy to use lipsticks that require minimal faffing about and the Clarins Joli Rouge Brilliant range have my name all over it.

Not only are they deliciously shiny lipsticks, but they've got ingredients like organic marsh samphire extract (sounds very fancy schmancy altogether) to help with moisture and mango oil to help nourish and soften the lips.  And they do exactly that.  As a dry lipped person, these get my approval because when I wear them, we're talking hydrated lips with a lovely wash of colour.  And you know they way I like to do a little show and tell sometimes showing you what lipsticks I have in my handbag?  Well these types of lipsticks are why I carry a good 15 around with me.  They're easy to slap on and don't give me any grief in terms of dryness, patchiness and general effort of life.  They're a pleasure to use lads, a pa-leasure!

With twelve shades, the range has a shine booster complex giving a grand glossy finish and a semi-sheer finish.  I totally have my eye on the coral one because coral.  Coral.  Need I say more?  I was sent five shades to test out and have two immediate favourites and one surprise love!

Pink Praline

Pink Praline is a peachy nude that's super flattering to wear every day.  It's nice and creamy, will go beautifully with a tan and shall be coming on holidays with me.

Tea Rose

I generally love any lipstick that's called Tea Rose and this is no exception.  It's my favourite shade of the five and works with a smokey eye, with just mascara on the eyes and if you're looking for an easy to wear shade, then definitely check this out.  It's slightly lighter and peachier than Pink Praline and this shade will be used up first I predict. Ok, I think I need to bring this on holidays too...

Rose Blossom

Rose Blossom is a delicate yet vibrant pink which has great colour payoff despite the sheer nature of the range.  I like wearing it as more of a stain, dabbed into the lips as I'm not generally a pink lip lover!


The first time I swatched Hibiscus, I was afraid, I was petrified (is that song in your head now?  Welcome.)  But on the lips, oh it's the perfect coraly pinky shade that will be worn lots over the summer.  Again, the colour payoff is fantastic and this shade was made for me and my green eyes.  This shall also be coming away with me for days where I want to look put together but without making any effort at all!


Fig is a lovely darker shade that is more autumnal than summer for me.  Don't you think it'd work well with a bronze smokey eye?  Yes, I shall save this for the colder days after summer.

The Joli Rouge Brilliant range is on counters now and has been for a while (I totally thought I'd lost these photos in the great death of my Macbook recently).  They're €22 a pop and if you're into glossy sheer lipsticks, they're definitely worth checking out.  You can buy 'em online too and at the time of writing this post, some of the shades are on sale in Debenhams.  Even better eh?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

10 cleansers to try!

I've mentioned this lots before over my five plus years blogging, but the best thing I've ever done for my skin is to stop using makeup wipes.  And any time I'm asked about beauty advice or what my number one tip is, it's always, always to stop using wipes and get yourself a cleanser.  Then use it.  Give yourself a couple of weeks to start seeing and feeling the difference in your skin and you won't look back!

Now, with the blog comes serious responsibility in terms of testing out products and while I have more skincare bits than sense, I've picked out ten cleansers worth checking out if you're on the market for something new.

As a beauty junkie, I always have a few cleansers on the go and chop and change them depending on my mood and skin situation.  This means one thing.  I always have a load of half finished bottles of cleansers everywhere and it takes a while to finish them!

Let's get stuck in shall we?

Neostrata Enlighten Ultra Brightening Cleanser - €27.50 - buy
I go through phases where my skin looks dull and it needs a little pick me up.  This is generally in spring time, and so for the past few weeks I've been using the Neostrata Ultra Brightening Cleanser to give my visage a little somethin' somethin'.  If you want to go the whole hog and tackle skin brightening on all levels, then you can use the rest of the Enlighten range, but for now, I'm happy with the cleanser which foams and gently exfoliates my skin leaving it feeling clean and looking bright.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser - €19 - buy
This is an oldie but a goodie.  A real goodie.  Whenever someone asks for a recommendation for a higher end cleanser, I always point them in the direction of this.  I gave Joanne a set containing the cleanse and polish and she absolutely loves it and it's one of those products that works for all skin types.  It's gentle enough to use on my eyes, leaves my skin feeling nice and soft and is a cleanser I've repurchased a few times myself.  A total hit and I'll never be without a bottle!

Botanics Hydration Burst Dual-Action Cleanser - €8.29 - buy
For a cleanser that's under a tenner, this one is absolutely fabulous.  It starts off as a thick gel and as you massage it into the skin, it turns into an oil, breaking down your makeup and dirt splendidly.  You can either remove it by rinsing it with water or with a flannel which is what I do.  It reminds me of the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel but has a slighter thicker consistency and works just as well!  It leaves my skin feeling super soft afterwards and if you're in the market for a budget cleanser, then definitely check this out.

Image Vital C Hydrating Cleanser - €32 - buy
This is new to my collection but has become a firm favourite.  With it's citrus scent, it smells like summer and I might bring this away with me on my summer holliers.  I've been trying to pump my skin with anything that will hydrate it and this is how I start the process.  By massaging the cream into my face (not into my eyeballs) and removing it with a facecloth, my skin feels clean, nourished and hydrated, ready for the rest of my skincare.  I can see the Vital C range and I having a long term relationship and I'm going to make Joanne use it when we're away because her skin is super dry and I'm a good sister and she will owe me big time!

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm - €29 - buy
This is one of those does what it says on the tin products.  There are no airs or graces with it, no scent, nothing.  But it does a stellar job at cleansing the skin without stripping it and it's one that I need to use a cloth to remove it because without that, it can leave my skin feeling a bit greasy, like there's residue on it.  The tub is massive, is great value for money and is suitable for all skin types.

Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm - €45 - buy
I've raved about this cleansing balm before and am an absolute lover of Emma's cleansing cloths.  This is my cleanser that I go to when I want a bit of luxury and pampering.  The scent of it is divine and each time Emma comes to Ireland to visit, I ask when she's going to bring out a fragrance in this scent.  I'm going to bully her into it lads, don't worry.  This balm can be used to remove makeup and cleanse the skin, can be left on as a hydrating mask and can be mixed in with Emma's Rosehip seeds to exfoliate the skin.  Yes it's spendy but holy moly it's pure indulgence and makes for a great gift for someone (or yourself) who wouldn't spend that much money on themselves.

Caudalie Makeup Removing Cleansing oil - €23.76 - buy
This is one of the newer oils I've been trying out lately and while it's packed full of almond oil, it doesn't smell like marzipan.  Phew.  Girlfriend does not like her face to smell like wedding cake.  This is a really lightweight oil that I can use to remove makeup, including mascara and doesn't irritate my delicate eyeballs.

Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel - £29.50 - buy
I've been rationing this like it's going out of fashion and this is because it is simply gorgeous to use on the skin and is spendy.  I know I'll want to repurchase it when I finish it but due to the ridiculous number of cleansers I have on rotation, I won't be able to justify it until I finish at least two products in this post.   It starts off as a gel, but once massaged into the skin, it melts into an oil which removes my makeup effectively, leaving my skin feeling hydrated and super soft after using it.  SEE It's absolutely worth the money (but if you're on a budget like moi, then check out the Botanics version above).  This is one of those products that makes me want to get people to touch my face when I've used it.  That's not weird at all sure it's not?

Kinvara Cleansing Oil - €19.95 - buy
This is bottle number two as someone (moi) dropped the first bottle on tiled floors on Christmas Eve and lamented the loss of it over the holidays.  I'd been using it for over a week before that and had really enjoyed using it as it removed my makeup easily, didn't affect the eyeballs and left my skin feeling soft and plump afterwards.  Kinvara (not to be confused with Kinara, a gorgeous restaurant in Clontarf) kindly sent me a new bottle to use and I've promised to be more careful with this one!  I really do feel fresh faced after using this and used in conjunction with the Kinvara Rosehip Face Serum, it's a match made in heaven.

Botanics All Bright Cleansing Cream - €5.99 - buy
This one makes me feel old school!  I don't use cream cleansers that much anymore but sometimes it's nice to turn back time!  This one is great for just cleansing the skin, not for removing makeup as I found there to still be foundation on my face when I used a toner after it.  But for a morning cleanser, it's great.  It's gentle on the skin and to save on cotton pads, I like to apply it directly to the skin, massaging it in a bit and then use cotton pads to remove it.  If you're on a budget and want to get into a proper skincare routine, then definitely investigate the Botanics range as they've so many products and you'll be spoiled for choice and won't be broke!

So those are the cleansers I rate at the moment!  What are you using and what do I need to try next?


Monday, April 18, 2016

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder - Brilliant - review, photos

After Hourglass brought out their Ambient Light Luminous Bronzers last year, I knew it was just a matter of time before they brought out highlighters.  And now I'm already wondering what their next product will be because they've done powders, eyeshadows, blushes, bronzers and now these guys.

I hadn't read any reviews on these highlighters other than Temptalia's ones before buying it but knew that no matter what, I'd be picking up one anyway.  For the blog.  And my face.  I ended up choosing Brilliant, one of the more golden toned highlighters as two of them were quite pink toned and swatched nearly identically.

Here she is in all her glory.  She looks beautiful in the pan and is so soft to touch when you're swatching.  I remember oohing and aahing over it in Space NK as I whittled the foursome down to one and was delighted with life to be swanning out of the shop, highlight in hand.

Things didn't go quite according to plan with Brilliant and so while trying it out initially back in February, I kept a diary.  How very old school of moi.

Monday 8th February 2016, 7.10
Dear diary.  It's Monday and I'm late for work.  Shhh.  But I also want to try out this highlight.  I've applied a new base to try out and used the same powder I've been using since Christmas.  I have not photographed the highlight yet, so I must be careful not to mess it up too much.  I've used a small fluffy brush to lightly dab into the powder and have also carefully applied it to my cheeks.  It's fierce glittery when first applied but sure we'll see how it goes.

Monday 8th February 2016,  9.10am
Dear diary.  I feel like I've lived an entire day already, but it's time to check the visage.  How is it only 9.10am?  Time for a mirror check and I appear to have lost the highlight.  It is nowhere to be seen no matter how much I tilt my face towards the harsh fluorescent light in the office .  I check both cheekbones just in case I'd been leaning on one, trying to get through the morning in one piece.  Nathin'.  I utter a "Huh?"   Tres disappointed... Not a great first impression, but I'd had a similar feeling when trying out the Hourglass blush which ended up being one of my all time favourites.  So I won't discount it yet and look forward to trying it again tomorrow.  Chat later diary.

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder - Brilliant - Dry

Tuesday 9th February 2016 - Day 2 in the Hourglass highlight wearing house.
Dear diary.  I apply my regular base today, my trusty Clarins BB cream, and apply the highlight over the top, hitting my cheekbones and hoping today is the day I'll be wowed.   I apply it with my Blank Canvas Cosmetics F28 brush and notice that the first layer goes on ok but looks really sparkly again.  Like properly glittery and if I'm honest, a bit cheap looking.  This time I try a different tack and blend it well before noticing that I have blended all of the glitter away and am left with a really soft sheen on my cheekbone.  Almost invisible.  I wanted it to look like an angel had come down from heaven, licked my cheekbone and swanned off to do other angelic things.  Instead, it looked like an angel had come down from heaven, spat in a tissue and then dabbed it on my cheekbones.

Diary, this isn't the way I'd envisaged things.  So I do something that I rarely do when it comes to highlights and I go in for a second layer. and I think you know things are bad if you go into your highlight for a second hit and you're not Nikki Tutorials.  Again, we had the initial hit of glitter which was swiped away to leave a golden sheen to the skin.  On this day, the product mostly stayed in place for a bit longer, starting to fade by lunch time.

Diary, I am about to lose my reason. What does a bridie have to do to get her highlight to actually highlight and also stay in place for more than six seconds?!  Dare I take it to the last resort scenario and go in with it wet?  They sell a sponge to go alongside the highlight for this very reason, so I go and dampen my beauty blender because girlfriend here isn't spending any more money on highlights, and two things happen.  One is that as soon as I touch the powder with the sponge, a film appears over the wet patch.  This does not bode well for the likes of me who gets agitated at the sight of something that has messed up my €42 highlight.  And the second thing that happens when I apply it wet is this:

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder - Brilliant - Wet

Diary, there is sweet F-A on the Hourglass packaging about looking like a robot.  I look like I've rubbed the powder off my cheekbones directly.  It looks harsh, fake and while it might stay longer than the dry application, I can't wait to take it off.  Oh diary, I have the sads.

So that's been my experience with this highlight lads.  I know Orla from Makeup Over Mind loves hers and she's the queen of subtle makeup and it looks gorgeous on her, so it's for that reason that I'll keep using it.

I'd say I'll actually finish it and all because I use so much thanks to it disappearing off my face after an hour.  I mean where does it go?  The rest of my face isn't sparkly or has a sheen from it moving.  Obviously it's gone to a better place, back to the angels.

For €42, it kills me that it's so disappointing.  But in saying that, if you like a subtle highlight then it could be perfect for you.  Just make sure you warm up your neck muscles from all the head tilting you'll be doing to try and see it on your skin.  FYI, even though this is warm toned and my Catrice highlight is cool toned, I've been reaching for the Catrice version over this all the time.  And it's under a fiver too!  Have a look at it in action here.

As I said earlier, the shade I picked up is called Brilliant.  Totally should've been called Meh.  I feel like I'm being so mean to it but come on Hourglass, you can do better than this!

So tell me this and tell me now more, have you tried any of the Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders and if so, how have you got on with them?  If you're intrigued, then it's available from Space NK.
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