Monday, January 29, 2018

Sleek Matte Me Metallics review, photos, swatches!

When I worked in the hospital, I used to keep my makeup pretty neutral, just because I was too self conscious and a big wuss.  I remember going a bit heavy handed one day with my eyeshadow and one of the girls was like "Oooh your eyeshadow is luffffffly" which was code for "What in the name of Jaysis did you do to your eyes on purpose you dirty lookin' eejit and aren't you supposed to be a beauty blogger?!"

WELL, now that I'm working in the beauty industry properly, I feel motivated and inspired to try new things and to step outside my comfort zone!  You might know that I'm fond of a brighter lip but mainly in the confines of my office, but now, now is the time to be brave and wear the things out in public!   Sleek have launched some new shades of their Matte Me Metallics and while some of the shades launched last year didn't really suit my complexion, the new shades are more up my street.

See?  Beautiful!  And Sleek's Matte Me range is my favourite of all the budget matte liquid lipsticks on the market and the metallic versions are no different.  They dry matte (obvs) but don't dehydrate my lips, they wear off nicely and stay put for aaaaaaaages.  Each of the photos below shows one coat of the lip cream and by all means go back in with a second coat if you want a bit more opacity.

Metallized Rose (above) is actually quite wearable for a metallic shade.  I love dusky pink shades in the spring and now I've a metallic version for my collection.

Of the three shades here, Electroplated Nude is the one I'd wear the least, not in terms of formula, just because it makes me look a bit washed out.  But if you're on the hunt for a metallic rose gold shade that will stay put for ages, definitely check this one out.

Adonized Ruby is the absolute star of the show... Ooh it's gorgeous and I'd so many questions about it in my last blog post.  Go have a look and see it in a few more photos.  But it's a different take on a red lip, ok, it's darker than a red, but brighter than a burgundy, but still manages not to overtake the darker eye makeup on me.

For trend driven beauty like this, where I don't know how often I'd wear a metallic lip, I don't want to spend a fortune, and I don't want to compromise on quality.  Thanks verdy much Sleek for allowing us to try new things, step outside our comfort zones and not go broke in the meantime!  The Matte Me Metallic range is on Sleek counters now and are €6.49 each.  Grand job!  They're available from Boots and Cloud 10 Beauty as well.  Think you'd wear a metallic lippie?


Friday, January 26, 2018

Ch-ch changes! I quit my job!

I'm officially self employed!  Or without a permanent job.  Either way, it's scary as shit!  And it's very surreal altogether.  Let me fill you in...

I've been in the same job for 9.5 years which is mind boggling, because when I started back on the 08.08.2008 (three weeks after my marriage ended), I was agency staff, working week to week on contract before applying and interviewing for my own job and being made permanent.  Oh yeah, I've always been pretty vague about my job in the past, mainly because it had no connection to the blog or my "online life".  I worked in the Dermatology Department in St Vincent's Hospital doing admin, learning loads about skin, sun awareness and had the best craic with the girls over the years.  I made some lifelong friends, have belly laughed until I cried and learned that there really is a link to a full moon affecting all the madsers!

I started blogging in September 2010 and sometimes I still think what I did with my free time before that.  And then I remembered.  I existed.  I went to work, I came home, I had my dinner and I either watched TV or YouTube and that was it. I was going through the motions of life, not really having a focus or direction, just wanting to work to be able to pay the mortgage on my house by myself.  My Dad had passed away the year before and it was a rough aul year, but starting the blog was the distraction I didn't know I needed.

I wrote and wrote and wrote, building myself a lovely little audience in my corner of the internet and as the years went on, things changed in the blogging world.  Social media platforms became things we had to keep updated constantly, almost becoming as important as the blog itself.  And if that wasn't enough, I decided I wanted to start a YouTube channel in 2013.  I had the chance to do some overtime in work so it got to the stage where I was starting work at 6am and working through lunch for a few years to build up the overtime, all while trying to keep all things Lovely Girlie Bits on the go.  No matter how exhausted I was, I loved blogging so much and couldn't just sit and watch TV in the evenings.

To cut a long story short, things in my life have changed over the last couple of years and for the first time, creating content as a job became a real possibility.  And that's still so weird to even think, never mind say out loud!  I've had so many really lovely messages from people and just one from someone saying they hoped I wasn't leaving my job to be a blogger or an influencer... We had a really good chat back and forth and while I don't identify as an influencer (that's a whole other blog post), I'm proud to be a proper blogger.  But I'm more than that.  I'm a photographer, I'm a writer, I'm an editor, I'm an administrator, I'm a content creator and I do it all myself.  Ain't no team here!  And how feckin lucky am I now to be in a position to do what I love with all of my guts as a job?  I will never take this for granted.  I'm not about the numbers and will happily grow slowly if it means producing great work.  I've never pulled the wool over yizzer eyes and never will and I have a post in the works on what you can expect from me for the rest of this year.

So as of February, I'll be working in house at a PR company three days a week doing content creation and social media management in a consultancy capacity for some whopper brands and for the other four days,  I'll be doing my own stuff.  I want to be able to have more content everywhere - the blog, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook and I'm hoping I'll get my love back for Twitter some day too.  When I first made the decision to leave my job, for about 30 seconds, I thought to myself, maybe I'll be able to have some more time off and take things a bit easier.  But I know me.  I can't sit still and if I have more time to create content and work, that's what I'll be doing and I can't wait.  I'm going to work my ass off and see what it's like to look forward to going to work, be excited at the day ahead and see where it takes me.

I'll hopefully be doing more brand collaborations and that will give me the freedom to give you lots of free content.  So many of you are really supportive at the collabs I've done so far and I promise to keep up a high level of creativity, honesty, transparency and craic!  I'm also going to be doing some more projects off camera, sharing my knowledge and skills with others.  The fact that I actually have proper knowledge and skills boggles my brain!  And with those skills, I'm going to be working with businesses and brands with their social media, their photographs and videos and I can't wait to get stuck in.  Me?  Teaching people stuff?!

See, I've always been average.  I've plodded along through life not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up and up until last year, I thought I'd be working in the hospital until I retired.  But I'm actually good at this!  I can take a mean photo and I can string a sentence together.  I've taught myself how to edit videos, have researched photo and video techniques for hours at a time and I'm creative.  It's taken me a while to feel confident in my abilities but I'm finally there!  I know I'm taking a big risk and a huge leap of faith leaving my permanent, solid, comfortable job but I think and I hope this will be the making of me.

Now I do realise that I'm at the start of this whole big chapter of my life and everything is rainbows and sunshine and I'm full of positivity, but I'm going with it!  It might go diddies up and if it does, that's ok.  I'll have tried.  I'm 41 and I'm starting a business and a new career out of a hobby I began in 2010.  I don't know what the next year holds, but I'm dying for the challenge!  If it doesn't work out, I can get another job.  But right now, I'm taking that leap and following my dream.  Jesus I'm like a quote on the front of a notebook!

Thanks for all yizzer continued support everywhere lads.  It doesn't go unnoticed and it's never taken for granted.  I won't let you down because you're the reason I'm able to do this.  I'm going to make you proud lads.  I promise.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Note Cosmetics foundations review, before & after photos!

One of my favourite brand discoveries of 2017 was Note Cosmetics.  And over the last few months or so, I've been testing out a bunch of their products, but realised that while I've spoken about them lots online, I haven't blogged about them, so behold the Note cosmetics foundation uber post!  Now for the purpose of this blog post, I'll say at the start in case you miss it, that my skin type is as follows.  I've normal cheeks, an oily t-zone and I'm 41.  So keep that in mind when you're considering picking any of these up.

Let's get stuck in shall we!

Note Cosmetics BB Cream - €11.95

Starting with my one true love and the one that made my 2017 favourites, we have the Note BB Cream.  I use shade 1 and while it's way too dark for me, I still love it and wear it all the time, once I blend it down the neck or have fake tan on.  The finish this leaves on my skin is incredible.  I look properly luminous and flawless #NoFilter and it wears really well too.  Every time I wear this on Instagram or in a video, I always get lots of questions asking what it is and it's this.  For a BB cream, it gives a really decent level of coverage.  We're talking starting at medium and builds up to as full as you'd like.  My skin always looks so smooth and even when I'm rocking this and the fact that it has skincare built in is just icing on the cake.  It lasts a good 4-5 hours on me before I need to powder my oily bits and then I'm good to go again. 

Now, if truth be told, if I had a shade that matched me, this would be my favourite of all the bases in this here blog post.  But alas, shade 1 is mahogo.  So Note, if you bring out lighter shades, I will 100% buy all of them because it's a stunning base.  You'll see in the before and after photos below just how dark it is, but you'll also see what an absolutely flawless finish it gives me.  It makes me look radiant, it looks like my skin (if it was 3 shades darker), and again this is packed full of skincare and dries matte but doesn't look flat.  We're talking satin sheen and that healthy looking glow.

 I'm not a big fan of loose powder mineral makeup, but this mineral foundation has got my heart all a flutter so rest assured, I'll be making it a mission to self tan more this year just so I can wear it.

As someone with oily skin, I love finding mattifying foundations that keep me shine free, that don't enhance any dry patches and don't look cakey.  Hello Note Mattifying Extreme Wear Foundation.  This formula is fierce thick, so I don't even need a full pump to do my face because a little goes a long way.  Again, I'm wearing shade 1 in it and you can see that it's slightly dark on me, but I've been wearing this a load over the winter.  I've tested this out with and without powdering and both ways it performs beautifully, keeping my shiny noggin grand and matte.

Now I'm not sure how a foundation can detox the aul mush, but protecting?  I can get on board with that.  This base is said to act as a shield against free radicals and environmental factors, so maybe it's one I'll wear more often when I'm going to be based in town during the week.  Shade 1 is in the hot seat again and it's a close enough match to me.  But it's just a tad ashy on my skin and while it doesn't dry out my skin or anything, it just doesn't give my face that oomph that the others seem to.  I think I just love the other ones more than this, so it's not getting much of a look in.

The one I've been wearing the least is the Note Luminous Moisturising Foundation, mainly because the other ones just work better on my skin type.  I will say though that the shade range is great and I'm wearing the lightest one in the photos, which I thought looked a bit too light initially.  What I've found with this foundation though is that it oxidises on me slightly, so it's one I have to blend down the neck, no matter how perfectly it matches my complexion at the start of the day!  It also doesn't sit as flawlessly on my skin as the other bases and if I'd tried this without trying the mineral foundation or BB cream, I'd probably be more impressed than I am.  But on my oily t-zone, it doesn't quite mesh as perfectly as the others do.  I'm just being picky!  If you've got oily bits on your face, you're definitely going to need to powder this.  I powder every day anyway and by lunch time my nose starts to shine, so either layer on a mattifying primer, or keep your powder handy.  Those with dry skins will like this though I think.  It gives a lighter and slightly patchier level of coverage than the other four bases and while so many people love this and rave about it, on my skin it just didn't perform as well as the others.

And thus concludes my massive rambling blog post on the Note Cosmetics foundations!  I hope you found it helpful and didn't mind looking at my face all up close and personal!  The main gripe that pretty much everyone has with the foundations is the shade range.  Most of the ones I've tried are very dark and are yellow toned, but I do love a yellow toned base as it counteracts my redness.  But it's worth noting.  Har har.  Did you see what I did there?!


Friday, January 19, 2018

L'Occitane collaboration with Rifle Paper Co!

Beauty and stationery - two of my favourite things ever and when they collaborate the way L'Occitane and Rifle Paper Co have, it gives me all the feels.  Anna Bond, Rifle Paper Co's creative director designed the packaging for some of L'Occitane's best known shea products, each one reflecting the beauty of Provence.  I've never been to Provence but I feel like I need to go, take these products with me and take all of the photos!

As much as I give myself the ultimate cringe balls when I say this, I'm going to say it.  I love gorgeous packaging with beauty products.  I do.  And the Rifle Paper Co collection is made for displaying on your bedside table, on your vanity, on your desk and I'd be willing to bed you'd probably keep it for "good use" because of its beauty.  It was made for Instagram!

The Shea Butter range is one of L'Occitane's finest, in my humble opinion, having saved my scaldy hands and body many a time.  When I want to give my skin a hardcore boost in the colder months, I reach for them year after year.  And now I have whopper skincare that looks cute too!

This little travel set containing an ultra rich body cream, an ultra rich body scrub, a hand cream with four dinky postcards, all in pretty tin, at €30, it's a really lovely gift for someone or a loved one, and a nice entry level way to start your L'Occitane journey if you're new to the brand.

L'Occitane is famous for their Shea hand cream and now I've even more of an excuse to reach for it!  Isn't it looking beautiful now, all prettied up!  It's €23 and I rarely get a look in with this hand cream at the best of times because Mam loves it so much, so I'm hiding this one from her.  My desk needs cute products!

I wanted to include the Milk Shea Butter Solidarity Soap (€5) in the post because it's a lovely idea in that for each soap purchased, one year of vitamin A for three children goes to UNICEF's International Vitamin A Supplementation Programme.  In developing countries, up to 500,000 children go blind due to vitamin A deficiency, so it's great that 100% of profits go towards this cause.

I haven't tried L'Occitane's Rose Shea Butter Hand Cream (€10) yet but I'm going to keep this one in my handbag.  The packaging is beautiful, and I think it's my favourite of the whole collection and it goes perfectly with the Rose Shea Balm (€10) which can be used on lips, cuticles and any dry patches you have.  One of my missions this year is to look after my cuticles more and now I've no excuses!

I know Mother's Day is a couple of months away, but the set would make a beautiful gift.  And there's most definitely the option of doing a bit of self gifting too.  If you're new to L'Occitane or have yet to try out their Shea collection, this is a great way of starting out. 

Do any of these products tickle your Provence loving pickle?


Thursday, January 18, 2018

January Moi Meme Box – Review!

New Year, New Subscription box!  As you may remember, I had signed up to My Little Box in November, a monthly lifestyle and beauty subscription box.  As soon as I got my first box, I received an email to say they weren't doing any more boxes - typical!!  I spent the next few weeks researching different lifestyle boxes and eventually I settled on the Moi-Meme box.  This is a quarterly subscription box, costing £49.99.  So every 3 months you will receive a box with at least 5 full size products.  After looking at past boxes and being impressed,  I parted with £49.99 and waited for January to come.

I was so excited when I received my email from Parcel Motel to say it was ready for collection.  The first thing I loved was how the box had my name inside!  It's the little things, eh?  When I opened the box it was jam packed full of goodies.  The theme of this box was the Happiness Box and it definitely made me happy!  What better way to start the new year!

The first item I saw was Lola's Apothecary Relaxing Wellness Tea.  I'll admit this was my least favourite item in my box.  I'm not a fancy tea person but I'll definitely give it a go some day when I need to chill out a bit more.  Maybe I'll be converted?  Who knows!  Next was an adorable J mug from Lisa Angel.  Again I'm just loving the personal touches.  The mug is worth £9 and the colour may vary depending on what letter you are.  I loved that they gave a mug to go with the tea.

What else would go lovely with a cuppa?  A bar of Creighton's Salted Caramel Chocolate.  How amazing does that sound!  I have to say I'm a sucker for packaging and I love how pretty this looks.

This book would be perfect with the cuppa and some salted caramel chocolate; Lagom - The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life.  This book is totally something I would want but I would never buy myself, so to receive it in the box is perfect.  It goes through so many things such as Lagom gifts, or ways to prepare your mind for bedtime, just different suggestions to bring balance and happiness into your life.

This grey and rose gold bracelet also from Lisa Angel is just gorgeous.  It's exactly my taste too as it's so dainty.  I've been wearing it since I opened the box and I love it.

How gorgeous is this bath oil from Prismologie.  This is a restorative oil with bonatical extracts, jade micro-crystals and vetiver fragrance to help smooth, renew and moisturise skin.  This is a full size and costs £43, which I could it was expensive as it comes in a fancy glass bottle and smells divine.  If I could make the picture a "scratch n sniff" I would!

And finally, what any happiness box would need - a Happiness Planner!  I've seen so many people on Instagram, Snapchat, basically any form of social media with a Happiness Planner and again, it's something I've wanted but would never think to buy myself.  This is a 100 page Happiness Planner, so it's not something you need to start in January, you can start it any time you want.  It's something I want to use to set out some goals for myself and see in 100 days if I'm closer to these goals, as well as start being more positive and focusing on that.

After reading through the little brochure that comes with the box, explaining each item, there is a section at the back letting you know if you  don't like something or you would prefer a different colour or flabour you can return the item for an exchange.  That's such a great idea which makes it even better value for money.

As soon as I finished going through this January box and sending Karen a million pics of everything I received, I immediately got excited for the April box.  I just loved it!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Jo Malone Mimosa & Cardamom review!

Serious question people.  Why did nobody tell me that Jo Malone Mimosa & Cardamom was missing in my life and that I should've gotten it years ago?  Why lads?  Why?  In future, tell me!!

Let me set the scene.  I was having the chats with Trish and Ellen from Waxperts a few months ago and when Trish and I were having the hugs, I did what every normal perfume loved did and said "Ooh Trish you smell gorge, what is that?"  She said it was the dregs of her bottle of Jo Malone Mimosa and Cardamom and my first instinct was that it didn't smell like what I thought it would. I thought it would be a sweet and spicy scent and I couldn't be more wrong. It's a scent I see every time I visit the Jo Malone counter but I've never been enticed to try it, just because the name didn't appeal.  So the purpose of this blog post is to encourage you to give it a sniff next time you're in Jo Malone.  Trust me.

Now, after smelling Trish that day back in November, I put it on my Christmas list and because I loved it so much, I bought a bottle for Joanne and Mam because I know them.  When they got it for me in Brown Thomas, they kept smelling my wrist telling me I smelled only massive.  So now we all get to smell gorgeous!

On me, this smells powdery, light and in contrast, there's something really comforting about it too when it dries down.  Initially it's bright and airy, almost floaty, like you've just gotten out of the shower and I love when floral scents do that.  Then when it dries down, it becomes a smooth, warm, cosy scent.  I don't get much of the spicyness on me, it's more subtle than that.  It's like it's giving me a hug and I know that sounds weird!  Maybe it's the tonka in it, but when it dries down, you can really smell the warmth, but it's not a spicy warmth, it's more of a smooth warmth.

I feel fierce fancy when I wear this and I think it's a real crowd pleaser because I haven't had this many compliments about a perfume in ages!  And what I love about it is that it's not a real seasonal scent.  It's an all rounder and that's why I know it's only a matter of time before I finish the bottle and repurchase.

I'm always hearing people say that they love layering Jo Malone fragrances and I'm going to have to expand my collection because at the moment, I only have this one and my beloved Wood Sage & Sea Salt, so I'll give it a go with that and then get collecting more!

Jo Malone Mimosa & Cardamom starts out at €54 for 30mls.  I hope you give it a whiff the next time you're at a Jo Malone counter!  I think you're going to love it!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Vera Wang Embrace collection!

When Vera Wang fragrances come through the letterbox, you abandon everything, have a proper whiff (obviously spraying each one on different parts of your body), enjoy how gorgeous you're smelling and then get to photographing them, something to do them justice.

Vera Wang's Embrace collection is described as being "Sophisticated.  Intimate.  Romantic."  And those words really do make me think of Vera Wang and everything she encapsulates.  I might never get the chance to wear one of her dresses but I can most definitely wear her perfumes!

The collection consists of three fragrances, each available in an Eau De Toilette version and a body mist.  So if you're someone who likes to delicately spritz a touch of a scent here and there like a lady, then the EDT has your back.  If you're someone who loves to spray the living jaysis out of a scent you love, starting from the neck, dousing your scarf liberally with said scent, spritzing a bit on your hair because reasons, spraying a mist of it in front of you and walking through it in a flourish, then the body mist is for you.  10 points for guessing which one I am...

Vera Wang Embrace Green Tea and Pear Blossom has top notes of pear blossom (I didn't know they did that), bergamot (my fave) and green tea with a heart of freesia, peony and orange blossom.  When it settles, the base has skin musk, cedar wood and sandalwood and all-round it's a beautiful spring time fragrance that makes me feel uplifted and delighted with life.  I'd wear this on a bright, crisp spring day and smell only lovely.

The Rosebuds and Vanilla scent has top notes of rose buds, mandarin oil and damascene rose, a heart of cyclamen, blue iris and sweet magnolia and a base of musk, vanilla and sandalwood.  I'm not usually a fan of rose based scents but I ain't mad at this one.  The rose doesn't overpower the rest of the notes and works to give a floral yet warm and almost comforting scent.  In saying that, this is the one I know I'll wear the least out of the three, but if you like your floral sweet scents, you might love this.

Finally we have the Periwinkle and Iris fragrance which is battling the Green Tea and Pear Blossom to become my favourite.  With top notes of bergamot, mandarin and violet petals, a heart of iris, blue jasmine and periwinkle and a base of vanilla, benzoin and whipped sugar, there's something about it that's almost powdery and I'd lash this on after having a bath or shower!  But I won't, because that would be weird.  But again, there's something really comforting about this scent and I love it.

The Vera Wang Embrace collection is available from this month and the eau de toilettes will set you back €30/30mls RRP and the body mist are €12/240mls RRP.  Now I haven't tested the longevity yet as I only got sent them today but stay tuned to my social media and I'm sure I'll report back!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Rimmel Lasting Finish Breathable Foundation review, before & after photos!

Regular readers of the blog will know that second to mascara, trying out budget foundations is one of my favourite things to do as a makeup lover.  I only have a couple of high end ones in my collection that I reach for, but my heart lies with budget friendly bases!  I love seeing what bargains are to be had and seeing which ones can outperform the more spendy ones.  I was sent the Rimmel Lasting Finish Breathable Foundation before Christmas and with the busy festive season, I'm only getting around to putting my thoughts on the blog now, so apologies!

Before we go anywhere, I'd like to know where they got the 25 hour claim from?  Who sat in a boardroom and said "Listen Sharon, we're doing a new breathable foundaysh, it's going to have a massive wand the size of your finger to slather it on, and we're thinking 18 hours wear, what do you think?"  Only for Sharon to reply "I like what you're saying, massive wand, slather slather, but wait, I've got it... Let's make it last 25 hours.  So when some bridie is applying it at 6am on a Monday morning, she'll still be looking great at 7am on Tuesday morning.  25 hours.  Foundation gold!"

Back to the applicator.  I'm in two minds when it comes to it because it's massive.  It does a great job at applying the formula, and a couple of dunks into the bottle dispenses enough to cover my face.  Speaking of dunking, be careful taking the wand out of the bottle as the formula has a tendency to drip a bit.  I keep finding drops of it on my top, but that could be just me, messy AF.  Now if you're a stickler for hygiene, dipping the wand in and out as you're applying it to the face might give you the heebie jeebies.  I always prefer a bottle with a pump, so I have to dock it a point for not having one.

The glass bottle makes it less appealing for me to bring it travelling or carry in my makeup bag, but Rimmel love their glass buideals so they do.  Coming in a very decent 14 shades, I've been using shade 100 Ivory, the second lightest shade.  It matches my complexion perfectly but it has a tendency to oxidise slightly on me, but not enough to make me switch to the lighter shade.

The photo above shows the before and after with just one layer of the foundation.  It gives a light to medium level of coverage on me and I prefer applying it with a buffing brush over a beauty sponge.  I think the sponge soaks up too much of it but if you want a lighter level of coverage, you bounce your sponge on your mush like a good child.

Because of the really watery texture, it layers beautifully on my skin.  And when I say layers beautifully, I mean it sets quickly and I can apply more where I need it and blending it in doesn't move or shift the first layer.  This winter I'm having a few issues with dryness around my nose but this doesn't cling to any dry patches or enhance said dryness.  It sits beautifully on and just looks like skin.  After it sets, I don't need to powder right away, but by lunch time, if I haven't powdered, my nose is shiny.  But I'm a creature of habit and usually powder anyway in the morning just to be sure to be sure.  This also doesn't settle in my fine lines and boy do I have a good few of them these days...

Above you can see what one layer looks like on the left and two layers on the right.  Even with the two layers, it's not full coverage, but evens out my complexion to give a really natural finish.  For me, it's a really lovely everyday foundation for days where my skin is in decent shape anyway and I just want to even things out.  I don't think I'll be able to hit the 25 hour mark, but it still looks great 10 hours after I apply it and that's good enough for me!

I think this would be a good one for most skin types.  Oily folk like myself might just want to powder the shiny bits in the morning.  It's €10.99 and it's a pretty decent offering from Rimmel!

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