Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Brush lettering - my new hobby & what tools I use!

At the start of this year, I decided I wanted to do something different in my free time.  Blogging has turned from a hobby into a job (a very minimally paying job!) and I wanted to try my hand at something non bloggy related at all.  I'm always taking screenshots of quotes on Instagram and Pinterest and decided I was going to try out making my own digital quotes on PicMonkey.  After a few weeks I changed my mind and realised I spend too much time looking at a screen.  If it's not my computer at work, it's my laptop at home or my phone.  So I wanted something completely non techy.

Enter brush lettering!  
(Links for everything at the bottom of the post)

One day I was browsing Instagram like you do, and came across videos of people writing with brush pens and watercolours and I was hooked!  I found it so relaxing and mesmerising to watch and knew that this is what I wanted to attempt.  A few more screenshots of people's hashtags in their videos and I started Googling what pens they used, which was the best paper to practice on and before long I ended up following so many calligraphy and brush lettering people on Instagram.  I also discovered a whole new world of videos to watch on YouTube too!  There are some crazy talented people out there and are completely inspirational and make me want to practice lots.

I hit up Amazon, buying two sets of TomBow brush pens and a Rhodia dot pad.  The only reason I got the pad was because it came up as one of the recommended things to buy after getting the pens.  Last weekend I ordered the Pentel Aqua Brush Pens after getting the cheapest watercolour set in Mr Price and I'm learning how to use them now.

Because I'm the ultimate newbie, I started searching for practice sheets so I could learn how to do the letters and ended up finding the perfect one on Etsy (I've linked the shop at the bottom of the post).  It cost about €11 and how it works is you download the file and can print it out as many times as you'd like.  It's a great way of learning the basics and lads it's not as easy as the Instagram videos look!  But I'm really enjoying taking time away from everything and playing about with my bits.  My equipment.  My stuff.  How does this all sound rude?!

As I said, I'm totally new to this but am really enjoying learning a new skill, spending less time in front of a screen and writing out my name so many times that it doesn't look right anymore!

Now I haven't put the prices of everything below because sometimes they're on sale and sometimes they're full price.  I've used affiliate links (disclaimer here) but by all means, you don't have to use them, just Google what you want to find!

Tombow Dual Brush Pens Primary - Amazon

Tombow Dual Brush Pens Pastels - Amazon

Rhodia 19559C Dot Grid Notepad A4 - Amazon

Pentel Aquash Water Brush Pens - set of 3 - Amazon

Practice sheets - Crystalizabeth on Etsy

I'm not even remotely close at all at all to knowing what I'm doing but if you have any questions and I can answer them, let me know and if I don't know the answer, I'll totally send you in Google's direction.  As I said above, there are so many people on Instagram and YouTube who know more about this than I do, so have a search, find some inspiration and let me know if you pick up some bits and we can learn a new skill together!

Monday, August 22, 2016

L'Oreal Paris Nude Magique Cushion Foundation & L'Oreal Glam Bronze Cushion de Soleil review, before & after photos

I love an aul makeup trend and without them, I'd not be enticed into trying out as much make up as I do!  But it doesn't always go to plan...  I tried (and failed) to make strobing work for me and the strong brow trend did not in fact make me look like Cara Delevingne.  Ultimate rager.   But cushion foundations, they seemed like something even I'd be able to get a handle on.

I've been waiting for a more affordable version of cushion foundations to launch so I could test them out and while L'Oreal Paris Nude Magique Cushion Foundation has been on stands for a couple of months now, I've been putting it through it's paces in recent weeks and I'm ready to dish the dirt.  And the L'Oreal Glam Bronze Cushion de Soleil?  Well that has fast tracked itself to the top of my bronzer list.  More on that later.  Let's start with the cushion foundation shall we?

There are seven shades available here in Ireland I was sent shade 04 and 07, at least I think I was if memory serves correct.  See I pulled the little bit of plastic off that keeps the packaging closed and that had the shade number on it.  Rookie mistake Karen, always take photo of the shades before doing anything else!

Shade 04 is definitely more pink toned than 07 and as I've some redness on my nose and cheeks, I tend to reach for more yellow or neutral toned foundations like shade 07 to help counteract the red head on me.  It comes with a little sponge for application,  but I like to use a brush instead, dipping it into the sponge to soak up some product before getting stuck in.  They say it's infused with water to help hydrate the skin and give a cooling effect and while I can't say I felt it to be any more cooling than any other foundations I'm using at the moment, it definitely is one of the more hydrating formulas I've tried.  But part of me wonders if "infused with water" means "a bit more liquidy than your usual liquid foundation".   Who knows?

The foundation offers a light to medium coverage, is easily buildable and if you've normal to dry skin, then this is definitely worth checking out.  I've an oily t-zone with normal cheeks and while I don't mind having a dewy glow on my cheeks, my forehead is a whole different ballgame.  I don't glow on my forehead, I shine to the point where I can't use my Lumee for selfies because the light bounces back off my noggin and makes it look like I've highlighted the bejaysis out of my head.  So while I would usually powder my forehead, nose and chin in day to day life, I haven't for these photos, just to show you what the foundation is like.

It does a great job of covering up the majority of the redness on my face and while I could've done with another layer on my nose, this would be grand for me going to work.  In saying that, for an oily person like me, I definitely do need to powder or use a primer for it to stay in place all day.  That or I can top it up during the day.  I love how it melts into the skin, making it look like I'm not wearing foundation and when I've worn this in the past, I've had people tell me that my skin is looking lovely, not that they like my makeup.  Result!

Now can we take a second for the star of the show... The L'Oreal Glam Bronze Cushion de Soleil.  This is a bronzer I can really get on board with because it's so natural looking, blends into the skin seamlessly and gives a gorgeous sun kissed look.  Because it's warm toned, don't even try to contour with it or you'll give yourself an aul beard.  Instead, either use the sponge that comes with the bronzer or a brush to hit the parts of your face that would get bronzed by the sun.  For me, that's my massive forehead and along the tops of my cheeks.  I wish I looked like this when I got a bit of sun on my face!  In reality, my freckles join together, I get odd patches of tan and it just isn't worth it.  No, I'm happy to use an SPF of 50 every day and then use a bronzer like this to warm up my skin.

If you're paler than me, then definitely use this with a light hand and blend like you've never blended before.  If you think you've applied too much, go back over it with what's left on your foundation brush and you'll be good to go.

These are on stands now and are definitely worth checking out.  The foundation comes in at €21.99 and the bronzer is €22.00  Not the cheapest but not the most expensive either.  If I had to pick a must-have out of the two, the bronzer wins hands down!  It's gorgeous, will work on all skin types and I'm happy in the knowledge that I'll be a naturally bronzed goddess from now on!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Paese Long Cover Fluid Foundation & Paese Rice Powder review, before & after swatches!

You know those people out there who are blessed with perfect skin and only need the lightest layer of foundation to give them the coverage they want?  Yeah no that's not me.  Not even a bit.  I'm blotchy and like to cover up said blotches, so a good medium to full coverage foundation is right up my street.  Enter Paese Long Cover Fluid Foundation (€16.50).

This foundation is really thick when applied onto the back of the hand and it's worth noting that it has one of those spatulas to get the product out of the bottle, not a pump.  But despite it's thick texture, it blend quickly and easily into the skin.  The formula has ingredients like pro-vitamin B5 which soothes irritation and inflammations along with vitamins A, C, E and shea butter to moisturise and protect the skin.

Now, as always, when testing out foundations, I always try applying it a couple of different ways.  I found that using the Beauty Blender gave a really high level of coverage, a bit too much even for me, but when I use the round head kabuki or the Terrie brush from Nima Brushes, I get a near flawless application.  See?

I get a really decent level of coverage with one layer of shade 01 and my skin is left with a really healthy glow.  Because there are so many moisturising ingredients in it, it's a foundation I can definitely feel on my skin if I don't powder it.  Now it's not heavy or anything, it just feels like I've applied moisturiser.  So for those with dryer skin, you could apply a layer and go about your day happy out.  For the oilier among us, we need to powder things or else by lunchtime, we'd be a mess.  Not even a hot mess.  Just a dirty big sweaty looking mess.

The Paese Rice Powder (€15.00)  is something of a revelation to me in that it's one of the most long lasting mattifying powders I've ever used.  I can apply a layer of it first thing in the morning and by the time I get home, my face is still completely matte.  And it's one of those powders that looks better on your skin the longer it's on, probably because it absorbs the excess oil produced by your skin throughout the day.

The first time I applied it, I loaded up a big powder brush with it and started applying it to my nose and all over my face, just to see how I got on.  Yeah don't do that!  My poor nose looked white and that wasn't the look I was going for!  So what I do now is start with my forehead before moving to the nose and if I need to load up the brush again for my chin, I make sure my nose is taken care of first.  Never go near the schnoz with a brush full of powder!

For the purpose of the before and after photos above, I powdered my whole face and if you're a fan of the matte look, then fire away and do this yourself.  Just make sure to contour and highlight your face a bit or else your complexion can look a bit flat.

Used together, these two products are a match made in makeup heaven for me.  They photograph really well and they look gorgeous in real life too.  I've been making my way through them over the past few weeks and they saved me in the recent heat where I was a sweaty mess, my hair was frizzy, but my face looked lovely!

You can find a list of stockists on the Paese website here and it's also available from

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dealz Summer BBQ - Ad

If you follow me on Snapchat (LovelyGirlyBits) you'll know that my family and I are partial to an aul BBQ.  We always have the ultimate craic when we're together and get to feed our faces too.  A total win win situation!  It doesn't matter if it's sunny or raining, once we've agreed on a date, there's no takesie backsies and if you saw my snaps when we were in Spain, you'll know that we were sitting outside with hoodies on, blankets over our laps and freezing but it didn't matter, it was BBQ time!

For a recent BBQ, we teamed up with Dealz, the place where you go in for one thing and come out with all the things.  Like all of them.

Dealz gave us some vouchers to spend in store, picking out some products from the Outdoor Living collection and heads up, €50 can get you a lot.  Now there were only five of us at said BBQ, but we bought for six people so that Wilbert doesn't feel left out for future BBQs.

Now can you see that we went for a lot of colour?!  Sure it was the bank holiday weekend and we were feeling happy!  We picked up some clear acrylic plates, a salad bowl, a chip and dip platter, cutlery, plastic sundae glasses, bunting, twinkly lights and loads more.  As you well know, everything is €1.50 in the Outdoor Living collection, and admit it, you like to play the whole "Oh you got that in Dealz, how much was it? Fnar fnar" game with people,  It never gets old sure it doesn't?

The decorations

We picked up a few of these paper garlands to decorate the fence a bit, adding a bit of brightness to our surroundings while it looked like it was going to rain.  We picked up this little chalkboard to make a little sign, and when we're in the gang, we're the ConstantDeKortRoys!  (Constantine, De Korte and Conroy in case you were wondering).

We got the cutest windmill bunting and stuck it around the edge of the table and Bailey took a liking to it.  Can you cope with the cuteness?!

The food!

Let's be honest, preparation is key when it comes to BBQs and it's easy to spend ages getting it all ready, only to have it all eaten in minutes.  We kept it simple this time and had our spatchcock chickens (on the pink tray that I think is from Dealz years ago), garlic potatoes plated up on one of the acrylic plates and my famous salsa in the white and teal salad bowl.  The ConstantDeKortRoys don't do salads.  We did in fact buy a bag of salady stuff for the BBQ and even got stuff to make our own dressing and then forgot.  Sorry, we "forgot".  It's a running joke at this stage but sure listen, tomatoes are good for you!

We served up some chips and guacamole (forgetting the coriander, doh).  It totally does look fancier like this compared to digging into a bag of chips!

Joanne made my salsa, supervised by moi obviously.  Plum tomatoes, sea salt and basil is all that's needed for this summery side dish.

For the potatoes we make every single solitary BBQ, we use the foil containers with lids (the ones you get your rice in from the Chinese takeaway, also from Dealz) along with a smidge of oil, garlic salt and rosemary.  40 minutes later and you'll have a tasty addition to your BBQ.

And behold our plate o' food!  Simple, delicious and looking gorgeous!

Now as I mentioned earlier, we picked up six plastic sundae glasses, three blue and three yellow.  At one point I glanced over to my brother Stephen who was doing this...

So yes, it seems that they're multifunctional!  While he was enjoying a beverage, Joanne was making a bit of a healthy dessert in the rest of the sundae glasses.  We layered squished up meringues, raspberries and yogurt, somehow managing to eat every bite despite being stuffed after the main course.

I don't think our BBQs have ever been so colourful!  If you're planning on making the most of the nice weather this summer and fitting in as many BBQs as possible, then be sure to check out the Outdoor Living collection from Dealz!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Urban Decay Moondust palette review, swatches, makeup looks!

I love a bit of sparkle, especially when it comes to eyeshadow and Urban Decay's new Moondust palette has enough of it that you'll be able to see me from space, maybe further if the sun catches my eyelids.  Now that autumn is around the corner, for me that means being able to wear more dramatic eye makeup and I don't think I'll be able to get any more dramatic than this beaut!

Urban Decay Moondust Palette

The Moondust palette houses eight new shades of the Moondust range and even the packaging itself is glitter-tastic!  There's a nice big mirror and no wasted space on a brush that you'll probably lose in 2.4 seconds.

Urban Decay Moondust Palette

Each of the shades can be used wet or dry and it's advised if you're applying them dry, to use your finger.  That's how I did the swatches on the back of my hand below.  When applying them wet, I spray my flat eyeshadow brush with a setting spray, you can use water too, and then get cracking.  Packing the wet shadow onto the lid and then using a dry brush to blend the edges will leave the eyes looking seamless and gorgeous.  Don't even attempt to get to work with a dry fluffy brush directly into the eyeshadows or you'll have glitter everywhere.  You will Moondust-ify your whole face!

Urban Decay Moondust Palette

The swatches speak for themselves... My immediate favourite was Lithium with it's brown base and olive green shimmer, followed swiftly by Element, a divine pinky peach.  I want to use Granite in a smokey eye soon followed by Galaxy... That just speaks to me!  With the exception of Specter, each shade is buttery soft, super pigmented and is packed full of glitter.  There's no chunkiness, just smooth, blendable beauty!

Urban Decay Moondust Palette

When it comes to wearing glitter or sparkles on the eyes, I always like to take a matte transition shade into the crease, to bring the look all together and not make it look really harsh, going from sparkles to bare skin.  For the photos below, I used one of my all time favourite shades from Urban Decay - Riff.  I've spoken about it loads and it's a solid transition shade for dramatic eye looks.

Urban Decay Moondust Palette

Now while you mightn't be into wearing eyeshadows like this to work, for night time, they are perfect if you want to bedazzle your eyeballs at night.  Dabbing one of the shades over your daytime eye makeup look

The Urban Decay Moondust eyeshadow palette is on counters and online now and is €40.  That's a fiver a shadow for anyone trying to justify if they need another palette.  Sure that's for nothing!  Also, let's say you were to buy a full sized Moondust shadow for €18, are you actually going to finish a whole eyeshadow?  Probably not.  So it might be better to have smaller shadows, and more of them, and then you'll have options!  Listen, if you ever need someone to justify a purchase, I'm here!

I can definitely see myself getting loads of wear out of this between now and Christmas!
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