Thursday, January 24, 2019

Urban Decay On The Run Collection review, makeup looks, video!

It's still January and has been for about 3 months now.  Not that I'm wishing my life away, but I'm ready for February and beyond.  And also I have this deep need in the pits of my soul to book a trip somewhere, and when I do, I'll be happy that I have these travel friendly eyeshadow palettes from Urban Decay - the On The Run collection.  I was sent two of the three palettes available and got stuck into them the other day.   And if you want to see them in action, keep scrolling!  They're available online now, so if you like the look of them, you know what to do! (affiliate)


I love how colourful the packaging is, that they're really distinctive and that they have a grand big mirror inside.  Each palette is €30 each which is decent value for eight shadows, and there's a mix of new and existing shades in the palettes.  There's a range of finishes in the palettes too from matte to satin to metallic, holographic and sparkly too.


Bailout is described as "criminally good looking" much like my good self and is one for the neutral lovers with some gorgeous neutrals along the top row which all perform really well.


The bottom row isn't as impressive and while I found that row to swatch really well on the back of my hand, they didn't translate onto the eyes as opaquely.   Now I'll continue to use it because once I work with the shades a bit, they're beautiful on.  I think Chopper works best when applied with a wet brush and while I applied Double Up in the video below with my finger, I found it to be a bit chunky and there was some fall out.  So I'd advise to apply your foundation afterwards.  Pickup is beautiful and is a pale metallic lavender with pink micro sparkles.  It works best when applied with a finger and is the perfect shade to add a bit of sheer sparkle on top of your eyeshadow.   I'm obsessed with the shade Vice and when applied wet, it's stunning.  Applied dry, it needs a bit of extra work.  The palette is beautiful, but of the two I was sent, it's not my favourite, but I'll still use it no doubt.


Shortcut was made for me and my green eyeballs!  Again there's a mix of mattes, satins, shimmers and a beautiful sparkly glitter.  When I asked online which eye everyone preferred without having said what products I used, the majority said this one and I had to agree.


I found that all of these shades both swatched beautifully and performed equally as well on me.   The shade Lace doesn't show up too much on my skin tone but it makes for the perfect shade to blend out Shortcut.  Sin and Afterhours complete the top row and both complement and contrast against those two middle shades.  The bottom row is my favourite with that rich true brown Back Alley, the burgundy brown that is Rendezvous (if you sang Craig David, we are pals), Gash (the less said about that name the better), but it's a red/orange toned metallic and then we have Zone.  Like if I was an eyeshadow, I'd be Zone.  Bright, sparkly, in your face and would just put a smile on your face!

These shadows perform better on me as a group over the first palette and because they're shades I'd tend to reach for anyway, that's what I've been doing.


For the looks below, I kept it simple and applied the shades I'd naturally reach for when doing my makeup.  No cut crease for me here lads!  And if you want to see what shades I used, watch the video below


You can find the palettes in stores and online too.  Will you be picking either of these up?

Tonight's This Is Not A Tutorial shows two of the new On The Run palettes from Urban Decay in action. The red toned one is called Shortcut and I think it's my favourite of the two and when I asked you guys which eyeball you preferred the other day, you all agreed! The purple one is called Bailout and while a couple of the shades were a bit disappointing, stay tuned to the blog for an in depth review in the morning. There's one more palette in the trio that I need to see because it looks gorgeous 😍 These guys are €30 each and are available now! As always, these non tutorials are exactly that because I'm not a MUA and neither are lots of you out there, so this is just how I'd use these palettes! Check back in the morning for the blog post 😘 #lovelygirliebits #lovelygirlybits #lovelygirliebits1minutevideo #urbandecayontherun #ontherunpalette #eyeshadowpalette #newinbeauty #oneminutevideo #oneminitemakeup

114 Likes, 6 Comments - Karen Constantine (@lovelygirlybits) on Instagram: "Tonight's This Is Not A Tutorial shows two of the new On The Run palettes from Urban Decay in..."
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Monday, January 21, 2019

Blue Monday Beauty!

It's an actual physical fact that January has been going on for about 3 months at this stage now, and to make it even rougher on us all, today is Blue Monday.  I remember hearing about it a few years ago and that it's the day that a lot of people ring in sick to work.  I work for myself on Mondays and can attest that not only did I have mad dreams again last night, but it was particularly difficult to get out of the bed.  But it has to be done and I've been doing my bits ticking things off my to do list.

To ease us into the week, I thought I'd chat through some Blue Monday Beauty products today.  What are they I hear you ask?  Products that are blue and looked cute together in a photo ok bye.   Some of these products are new to me, and some I've been using for a while, so let's get stuck in shall we?  Some of the links below are affiliate links.


Blue Monday Beauty - the face edit


The Sunday Riley Total Brightening Enzyme Water Cream (£20/15g) is described as a brightening, refining treatment for the skin, containing papaya enzymes and hyaluronic acid.  It's got a really lightweight texture and I used it loads during the summer last year when it was hot and I didn't want anything too heavy on my skin, but still wanted to keep on top of my hydration levels.  I'm not sure how those with dryer skin would like it, but if you're looking to treat yourself, it's worth investigating.

I can't be without a micellar cleanser to remove my makeup and love the Eau Micellaire from YonKa (€30.50/200mls) because it's gentle on my skin and even gentler on my sensitive eyes.  It removes even the most stubborn of mascaras without any irritation and even though the packaging is slightly purple, it's a blue toned purple thank you!

Each of the No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Serum Boost Sheet Masks (€33/pack of 4) are packed full of a week's worth of the Matrixyl 3000 Plus Serum along with hyaluronic acid, hibiscus and vitamin C, giving the skin radiance and helping it look more plump and smooth.  And they have hooks to keep it attached to your face while you can go around and do your bits while letting the mask work its magic!

New to the beauty world is Clinique's iD range which launched just after Christmas.  I'll be doing a full post on it very soon, but basically there are five different cartridges that you insert into your preferred moisturiser so you can customise your skincare.  I picked the blue Uneven Skin Texture Cartridge (€45) which is infused with Alpha Hydroxy Acids which helps retexturise the skin and helps reduce the appearance of pores.  Each application gives 90% of the gel hydration base and 10% of the active cartridge concentrate.  Stay tuned for my full blog post on the range.

Finally we have the No7 Radiant Results Revitalising Hot Cloth Cleanser (€15) that was part of the No7 Christmas gift set last year, but can be bought separately.  I loving using this as a second cleanse and it leaves my skin feeling so smooth and soft, and gently but effectively cleansed.  It's fab.

Blue Monday Beauty - the hands edit


There's nowt like a rich hand cream that is a pleasure to apply, that smells gorgeous and that keeps the hands looking and feeling fabulous, especially in the winter.  The Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Hand Therapy (€20.95) smells clean and marine-y thanks to the blend of green seaweed and red algae and if you love your products to have that fresh feeling, you're going to love this.  I'm currently still making my way through the matching hand wash and shower gel in the La Source range and just love them all.

While our hands might be blue with the cold this month, we can still rock some blue nails!  The pale blue shade Taffy (€12) from CND Vinylux's Spring collection last year is ideal for those who love their pastels and who think that by wearing pastels, that spring will hurry up and come!  Once I prep my nails properly and use the Vinylux top coat, I can get a week out of my manicure easily.

For fans of a darker blue, or as Steps would say, a deeper shade of blue, we have Mavala's Trinidad (€5.45).  I love these little bottles because they're travel friendly (I bought a mad yellow one in France last year) and they apply beautifully to the nails.  And they're bottles I think I'd actually finish rather than them going thick and gloopy!

One of my aims this year is to try out adhesive nails for the absolute craic and what better way to start than with these gorgeous Kiss Glam Fantasy nails in Parasol (€10.49)!  They've a mix of matte, glitter and holographic nails in the set, so a bit of something for everyone.  Have you tried nails like these before?  Let me know in the comments!

Blue Monday Beauty - the extra bits!


I'm so bad at fake tan, so I rarely apply it, but thanks to the existence of the Moxi Loves Tan Aid Exfoliating False Tan Removal Wipes (€4.95), I feel less terrified about messing it up!  These promise to remove even the most stubborn old tan along with new mistakes (there's me right there), so I can't wait to give them a go.  Have you tried them yet?

New to the Black Opium family this year is YSL's Black Opium Intense (€87/50ml).  If you like your perfumes stronger, bolder and yes, intense, then you're going to love this as it's a more powerful version of the original Black Opium.  It has notes of coffee, absinthe and orange blossom, three scents I'd never think would work together, but it does.  It's the ideal winter scent and just envelops you like a big cosy jumper.  It launches on January 30th and is well worth checking out if you're on the hunt for a new perfume this winter.

Thanks for reading!
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Sunday, January 20, 2019

My blogging and YouTube equipment - my essentials!

I'm 8.5 years into my blog and in May, I'll have been doing YouTube (on and off) for 6 years which is just mad!  With the emergence of social media over the last few years, my blog and YouTube have definitely taken a back seat, but 2019 is the year I get back into blogging and filming regularly.

Pretty much weekly, I get asked about what camera and equipment I have, and so I thought I'd film a video going through everything and thought I'd do an accompanying post to go with the video for those who don't have time to watch me have the chats.  I could sit and talk about equipment, tech, accessories, all the good stuff, all day, so I'll try to keep this brief!  The video will be linked at the bottom of the post if you want to watch.  And I've linked most of the products in the post, some have been discontinued so I looked for similar ones and the links are affiliate links FYI.


Now since I started back in 2010, the world of phones has evolved so much, so by all means, use your phone to do your bits.  You don't need everything I'll be mentioning below.  This is just a huge passion of mine and over the years I've gone from taking photos of my eyeballs with a little point and shoot camera from Canon to my Olympus Pen.  These are the items I've invested in and use all the time for photos, filming and creating my content.  And while I use these all the time, I've a list as long as my arm of things I want to get so I can upgrade, upskill and keep me motivated!

Cameras

When it comes to cameras, I can't express enough how important research is.  I get people asking me what I use because they want to buy it, and every single time I reply to them, I always say that what I need my cameras for might not be what you need yours for.  I researched the Olympus Pen for a good 6 months before getting it.  My advice would always be go to a camera retailer, have the chats with someone about what you want out of the camera and play with them. 

I started off with my Canon Rebel T3i/Canon 600D (link to similar camera) years ago when I bought it in New York and it served me well.  It still serves me well and while it's long discontinued, there are lots of different alternatives.  I love that it has a flip out screen so I can see if I'm in focus, if the background looks good, and most importantly, if the camera is filming or has stopped filming.  I saw one of the newer launches from Canon in the duty free recently and saw it didn't have a flip out screen which would be a no no for me.  I want to be able to see myself and see what I'm doing!  I like to bring this one to Spain with me because it has a viewfinder and is much easier to see what I'm taking photos of compared to just using the screen with the Olympus Pen.  I want to upgrade to a new Canon later this year, so the research is starting!


For my 40th, I got the Olympus Pen E-PL7 which is also discontinued now and which I mostly use for all my bits.  The newer Olympus Pen E-PL8 has replaced it and is pretty similar for all intents and purposes.   These models have flip down screens so I can still see myself.  This has its issues and I'll explain more below.  But I find the screen is so handy for flatlays.  Up until recently, the majority of my photos were taken with the auto settings (I know, I'm so bad!) but I've been getting to grips with the manual settings and am loving experimenting.  I'm no good at explaining camera jargon, so do what I do and head to google and YouTube for tips!  But I love the Olympus pen and would definitely recommend it for blogging and filming.  Now it has its pros and cons and two years on, these are the main pros and cons for me.  I'm sure there are more plusses and minuses, but for what I need the camera for, these are the main points.

Pros of Olympus pen
Flip down screen is handy for seeing myself when taking photos and filming.
It's lightweight and portable.
It has built in wifi so I can send photos from the camera to my phone or laptop.
There's a great lens selection and I have my eye on another one to add to my collection!

Cons of Olympus pen
There's no viewfinder which makes a couple of things more difficult.  On sunny days, it can be hard to see the screen and see what I'm shooting.  And if you're using the manual settings, having to rely on the screen alone to focus means I can't always get things as crisp as I'd like.
It's on the spendy side.
It's not great in low light conditions - it isn't as crisp as I'd like.
Flip down screen makes it hard to sit on a tripod so you can see what you're doing.


One of the best things I've ever gotten in life is the 45mm lens for the Pen...  I'm obsessed!  It gives the blurry background, it makes the magic happen and I truly think it helped transform my photos.  It's the Olympus equivalent to the Canon 50mm lens that I have that does the same thing.  I don't film with these, they're just for photos.

Accessories

If you're investing in a camera, or even if you have one already, the number one accessory you need is a spare camera battery.  There's nothing worse than being in the middle of filming or taking photos, and you're in the groove, only for the battery to die.  While waiting for the battery to charge, the lighting could change, your mojo could go or you could end up being distracted with other bits.  So having a fully charged battery all the time is a life changer in the content creation world.

Another accessory I use all the time is a remote control shutter.  The Olympus has an app that you can set up so your phone becomes the shutter, but for the amount of photos I take when doing makeup, it takes too long.  I need to be able to go bam bam bam with the photos.  I have a wireless remote for my Canon camera which I love and it's so handy for making sure you're in focus when you're filming, especially if you've nobody to help you.

It's not a necessity, but I love my camera strap!  The one that came with my Olympus was thick and touristy and I wanted something a bit more streamlined, so started to research and found this gorgeous vintage looking one that's adjustable, lightweight, not clunky at all and looks pretty.

Something that I can never have enough of is memory cards.  I can say this because I lose mine all the time!  I usually get mine in Argos or on Amazon and always get the SanDisk ones.  They've never let me down and I'll they're missing is a location device because I'm always losing mine!


A must have for the Olympus is this bracket I got on Amazon.  It's supposed to be for external flashes but I use it to hold the Pen because when it's sitting on it, the screen can flip down and I can see myself.  Sitting the Olympus directly on my tripod means I can't see myself when I go to flip the screen, so I'd be lost without this.


I've two tripods because I'm extra.   Ah no, I've been using my big one for years now for filming and when I'm taking makeup photos too.  The one I have is discontinued (I've had it for so long, surprise surprise! So here's a similar one). I did some photos last year and the year before with sparklers and needed a tripod to help make using long exposures a bit easier.  I bought a small one for my desk last year so I can film with a different background and have my lighting behind it.  Speaking of which...

Lighting

Lighting is one of the things I'm asked about the most when it comes to blogging and filming.  So here goes!

As much as possible, I try to use natural daylight when I'm taking photos of makeup on my face and when I'm doing tutorials.  It shows the products in their true form and I think is more helpful for people when they're trying to find swatches of items.


Now in the darker days, it's not always possible to use natural light, so a few years ago, I invested in a ring light.  At the time, nowhere in Dublin (that I knew of) had them, and maybe they do now, so have a google and see what you can find.  I got mine on Amazon, and used Parcel Motel to get it delivered and three years on, it's still going strong.  It's dimmable so I can control how bright it goes and it's a great bit of kit to have in grey old Ireland!


Then back in November 2017, I treated myself to two panel lights from the same brand as the ring light, Neewer.   They've got loads of LED lights on them, they're dimmable and I can also control how warm or cool the light that's emitted from them is.  They're more portable than the old soft boxes I had and take up less space in my office, meaning I can have one of them sitting on my shelf all winter long without taking up valuable room.

I show all of these products in lots more detail in the video below if you'd like to take a look and all of the products are linked at the bottom of the post.  Let me know if you've any questions about anything mentioned!


Products mentioned

Canon 800D - similar to discontinued 600D

Olympus Pen E-PL8 - similar to discontinued E-PL7

45mm lens for Olympus

Bracket for tripod

Camera strap

Spare Olympus battery for EPL-7

Remote control shutter for Olympus

Wireless remote for Canon

SanDisk Memory Cards

Large tripod

Desk tripod

Ring light

Panel lights
















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Thursday, January 17, 2019

20 masks to try for the face, eye and lips - all budgets too!

I know, 20 masks but hear me out!  The world of masks has evolved so much over the years and now they have one for everything - face, eyes, lips, hands, foot masks, you name it, they have it!  And today I'm going to talk you through some masks that are worth checking out and I've picked ones for all budgets too because I hear ya, your mush needs some loving but it's January and funds might be low!


The Alex Steinherr Sleep Spa Sleeping Face Mask is one of Alex's products from her collaboration with PS... Beauty that launched last year.  A €6, it's one of the most affordable masks I've tried in a long time and it makes for a really nice alternative to my night time moisturiser.  It doesn't quite tackle things when my skin is super dry, but on nights when my skin is in decent shape already, this keeps it nicely topped up with hydration and I wake up the next morning with lovely plumped, smooth skin.  If you're on a budget, this range is definitely worth checking out.

I got the No7 Instant Results Nourishing Hydration Mask (€18) as part of a collaboration I did with them before Christmas and this is one of the products I keep going back to.  It's a mask I reach for when I want instant results and on days where I'm going to be taking photos or filming, I like to apply a layer and leave it on for about ten minutes or so before removing it and getting stuck in with my makeup.  It's lovely and rich and my skin feels soft and hydrated after using it.  If you're looking to spend your No7 vouchers on something, definitely give this one a go.  It's suitable for all skin types, sensitive included.

My skin can go through phases of looking and feeling a bit worse for wear, mainly when I'm not looking after it properly, and that's where the Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque (€50.50) comes in.  It has Vitamins A, C, E and F along with panthenol which helps repair my poor skin and it soothes and calms my skin.  This can be quite a common occurrence when I test out a lot of products and my skin needs a bit of TLC.

The Yonka Hydra No 1 Masque (€48.50) is one of my go to masks when my face is scaldy and needs an instant hit of hydration and I like that it can be used in a couple of ways.  Sometimes I'll apply a thick layer and leave it on for ten minutes and sometimes I'll apply a thinner layer and leave it overnight.  Either way, my skin drinks it up and feels the effects of it long after I've applied it.


I've spoken about the Image Vital C Overnight Hydrating Masque (€59.50) many times, so I won't go into it in too much detail.  You can read my full review here from last year, but know that I still use it regularly, my skin loves it so much and my fine lines feel the effects of it the next morning.  I think this is one of my favourite products from Image and I know that when I use it, it works wonders on my skin.

I love that we're still on the hyaluronic acid train this year and Vichy's LiftActiv Hyalu Mask (€45) is  another product to add to the list of things to try if you're all about that hyaluronic life.  It has higher and lower molecular weights of hyaluronic acid meaning some of it sits on the skin and some can go deeper, giving tonnes of hydration.  It's a mask that works in as little as 5 minutes, so I've been applying it when I'm doing my bits at the desk and let it work its magic.

I got a sample of the Oskia Renaissance Mask (£55) a couple of years ago and instantly fell in love with it.  The team sent me a tub of it before Christmas and my skin has been rejoicing.  This mask is a plumping and brightening enzyme mask with ingredients including papaya enzymes and natural fruit acids to give instant radiance to the skin.  It's pink gel turns white after application before turning clear as it's absorbed and my skin is noticeably soft, smooth and brighter after I use this. I love applying it on days where I want to look fresh faced and lovely!


Eye masks have become my new favourite thing and I feel very extra using them!  The Beauty Pro Eye Therapy Under Eye Masks with collagen and green tea most definitely soothes, hydrates and nourishes the skin under my eyes and at €5.95 a pack, they're the most budget friendly of the trio.  They're nice and cooling on the skin and as my eyes show my tiredness first, they've been helping disguise that.

Next up we have the Vichy LiftActiv Micro Hyaluronic Acid Eye Masks at €20, they're the most interesting of the three eye masks in that these can be left on overnight.  Because I'm a light sleeper and the slightest distraction will have me awake, I haven't left them on overnight. Who knows where I'd end up finding them!  Each patch has 160 microcones that dissolves into the surface of the skin, giving your eyes a grand aul dose of hyaluronic acid which plumps up my skin and hydrates it.

Finally we have the Rolls Royce of the eye mask world in the form of Lancome's Advanced Genifique Light-Pearl Eye Serum Mask (€62). I love the sheet mask version of this for the face and equally love the eye version because they feel so lightweight on the skin, and makes my ever increasing dark circles look a little less dark.  I feel like I look more well rested after using them, when in reality, I'm absolutely banjaxed!


I love a sheet mask and think they're a grand excuse to sit and relax for the few minutes they're on.  They're great for travelling, for giving your skin an instant boost and now that they've versions for all budgets, you can treat yourself no matter how low the funds are!

The PS... Beauty Alex Steinherr x Primark Maximum Moisture Supreme Sheet Mask (€4) is a budget friendly option here and I love how packed full of essence it is, so there's plenty to take down the neck and onto the back of the hands.  Ingredients include glycerin, amino acids and lotus flower extracts and I think this is a deadly little mask for the price.  It's one I've repurchased a couple of times now and on days where I want to relax and pamper myself without breaking the bank, this is the one I reach for.

The PS... Beauty Alex Steinherr x Primark Plump & Glow The Power Mask (€4) is another one I've been enjoying recently and again, it's friendly on the purse strings.  This has two steps, the first being a booster which you apply first and then the extremely juicy mask is applied over the top of it and left for 20 minutes or so.  The main source of this masks power is in its Hyaluronic Acid and I'm hard pressed to pick between this mask and the Maximum Moisture version.  They're great value altogether.

I've gone through countless Image Skincare Biomolecular Hydrating masks (€9) and like to keep them for "good use".  So if I've a big event or night out coming up, this goes on before I apply my makeup and my skin drinks it up, giving it lots of hydration and my makeup seems to sit nicer on top of it.  Those with sensitive skin can use this along with those who have had any kind of facial peels.

Finally we have the No 7 Restore & Renew Face & Neck Multi Action Serum Boost Sheet masks that come in a pack of four (€34).  I did a collaboration with them last year and before Christmas, I treated myself to another pack of these because I love them! First of all, it has a week's worth of serum along with Hyaluronic Acid, so once a week is all you'll need with these.  Secondly, this set of masks has a section that fits over your neck, an often forgotten part of the body, and finally, each mask has little hooks that catch around your ears meaning you can walk around, sit up and do your bits without the mask slipping down your face.


Continuing on with some more sheet masks, I had to mention the Kiehl's Instant Renewal Concentrate Mask (€12) that's packed full of cold-pressed amazonian oils and is aimed at those with normal to dry skin, but I don't let that stop me using it.  Now even though I've an oily t-zone, I still use facial oils all the time and the same goes for this oil infused sheet mask.  When my skin is truly scaldy, it nourishes it and gives it a dewy glow, and I tend to use it in the evenings before bed so the oil can help my skin further overnight.

Another Hyaluronic Acid infused sheet mask that I've reached for a few times over recent months is the Seoulista Super Hydration Instant Facial mask (€8.99).  It gives a great hydration boost to my skin and leaves it soft and smooth.  The Seoulista Correct & Calm Instant Facial mask (€8.99) cools, balances and hydrates skin that's prone to breakouts, irritation and redness.  It's infused with witch hazel and eucalyptus so it helps clear my sinuses too I tell ya, but it works wonders on my skin and helps bring down redness too.

Finally we have the Oskia Citylife Detox Mask (£64/pack of 4) which is the most expensive of the bunch, but so much craic to use!  The ingredients are separated in the pouch, so you have to squeeze the wet side so the seam between them bursts and it mixes with the powder side, and you have to work the mixture together until it's fully worked in before applying it and applying it quickly!  It sets fast into a gel which you peel off after 20 minutes and my skin looks so bright and fresh after I use it and it's aimed at those who are city dwellers and who want to help their skin recover from pollution and free radicals.


I don't think I could be without either of these lip masks let me tell you.  The Kiehl's Buttermask for lips (£22) is like a hug for my lips, when they're scaldy or not thanks to the fair trade coconut oil and wild mango butter.  It's described as an overnight lip treatment and while I use it at night before bed, I use it in the morning, during the day, whenever my lips need a hydration boost and it's a product I actually feel softening the skin on my lips.  It's incredible and I'll be repurchasing it when I finish the pot.

And last, but by no means by least, we have the PS... Beauty Alex Steinherr x Primark Sleep Spa Overnight Lip Mask (€5).  It's my favourite product of Alex's range (the bits I've tried so far) and I'll be stocking up next time I'm in Penneys.  It's tinted pink, which I thought was a bit strange for an overnight product, but it's fantastic at softening my lips and keeping dryness at bay.  It has hyaluronic acid, willowherb and chamomile which nourishes my lips and this is never out of my handbag.  The pink tint makes it ideal for wearing during the day and I hope they bring out more versions of it.

And that's it!  I hope this mammoth post helped you decide on what mask to treat yourself to this weekend because there's nowt like a bit of weekend pampering to take the edge of it still being January.  Longest month ever in life eh?  What masks have you been loving lately?  Let me know!

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Monday, January 14, 2019

Ella & Jo Squeaky Clean Brush Cleanser & 3 in 1 Hyaluronic Skin Mist review!

I've spoken about Ella & Jo loads on Instagram since they first launched and realised I've never done a post, bad blogger!  For those of you who don't know, Ella & Jo is an Irish company founded by Charlene Flanagan and Niamh Ryan, two fabulous bridies who know their stuff when it comes to the beauty industry and are also busy Mams.  They've created two deadly products that I use all the time and I thought it was high time to show them some much deserved love!




The Squeaky Clean Brush Cleanser is the first launch from Ella & Jo and it's a product I reach for all the time.  Like all of it.  I went through a phase years ago of despising cleaning my brushes and would end up just buying more because of the effort of it all.  Then I copped the feck on.  Having a product like this makes makeup brush life so much easier because I actually enjoy spot cleaning them now.  Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration, but this actually works in seconds and it's very rare that I need to go back in with it more than once.  I've tried spray cleaners for my brushes over the years and never found one that worked as well as this and was easily accessible too.

This has a zesty citrus scent thanks to orange peel oil and not only does it clean my brushes, but it disinfects them too.  If you're a makeup artist, you'll already know how important it is to disinfect your tools between clients, and if you're only getting in to makeup, this is something worth learning now.  Bacteria is never a good thing, especially when we're talking about your poor eyes.  And also, if you're trying to whittle down your brush collection, having something that works effectively on your stash means you can spot clean them daily and have the same core brushes ready for the next day.  It's worth noting that even though I spot clean my brushes, I still deep clean them with a solid cleanser every week or so.

Ella & Jo 3 in 1 Hyaluronic Skin Mist - €20


I'm very partial to an aul skin mist, especially in the winter and have been spritzing the 3 in 1 Hyaluronic Skin Mist liberally and often since it first launched last year.  Along with Hyaluronic Acid which we all know helps skin retain moisture, it also contains ingredients including chamomile which is an anti-inflammatory, cucumber which helps balance oily skin along with Witchhazel, and soothing Aloe Vera.  It can be used before makeup to moisturise the skin, as a setting spray over your makeup if you like a dewy look and throughout the day.  Because I've oily skin and don't really go for a dewy look because my mush takes care of the dew all by itself, I don't tend to apply it over my makeup.  But on non makeup days, this gets sprayed on my bare skin and all is well in the world.

Niamh and Charlene have done so well creating two whopper products and I can't wait to see what's up their sleeves next!

You can buy the products on the Ella & Jo website and they've got a list of stockists on there too if you want to pick them up in person.
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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Pestle and Mortar - the Irish skincare brand you need to check out!

It's very rare that I try out a skincare set and love each and every product in it.  Usually one or two of the items get left aside, but not so with Pestle and Mortar's All I Want For Christmas set.  I met up with founder and creator Sonia Deasy late last year who gave me the set to test out and I've gotten stuck in.


The set is still available from the Pestle and Mortar website and each of the products can be bought separately there too, if you're not on the hunt for a new skincare regime altogether.


I'd been dying to try out the Pure Hyaluronic Serum which contains different molecular weights of hyaluronic acid.  Larger molecular weights sits on the skin's surface, attracting moisture from the atmosphere, while smaller molecular weights penetrate the skin, helping to plump out wrinkles and fine lines.  This fragrance free serum absorbs quickly into my skin and I like to apply it after I cleanse.


As soon as my skin soaks it up, I go in with the Balance Facial Spritz which hydrates my skin like no other facial spray I've tried yet.  I feel the difference in my skin with each and every use of it, thanks to the mix of Deep Sea Irish Magnesium, amino acids and herbal extracts. It's a facial spray I've had on my desk for the last few months and when I'm working away, whether I'm wearing my makeup or not, I reach for it time and time again.  My skin feels incredible after each use and it feels like I've moisturised again when it sinks in.


I'm so bad at remembering to wear an eye cream, that is until I started using the Recover Eye Cream. This promises to diminish fine lines, improve skin texture while reducing dark circles and puffiness, all of which I need help with.  It absorbs quickly into my skin, giving instant hydration and I find I don't need a full pump to do all my bits.


The final step in my skincare routine is the Hydrate Lightweight Moisturiser which is one of the nicest moisturisers I've used in years.  Before I tried it for the first time, I assumed by it being"lightweight" that it wouldn't do much for my skin and I was very much wrong.  It contains squalene which hydrates, soothes and softens the skin and my face has felt all of these things day after day.  My skin feels plump, hydrated and smooth after using this and thankfully it sinks into my skin quickly, something that's important to me in the morning as I'm on a second by second schedule and need to be able to do my skincare and makeup in 10 minutes max!

I'd happily purchase each and every one of these four beauts when I'm done and have my eye on the Exfoliate Glycolic Acid Toner and the Erase Balm Cleanser next.  All in the name of testing for the blog eh!

Have you tried anything from Pestle and Mortar yet?  What's your favourite product so far?  What do I need to try next?
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Monday, January 7, 2019

Rituals - getting me through January one day at a time!

You know those days where you feel like you're running around to the Benny Hill theme tune, trying to play catch up, trying to get ahead, trying to do your bits but keep remembering bits you forgot to do and need to do and it's only 10am on a Monday morning?  Same.  SAAAAAME!

I go through phases of being highly organised and motivated, and then come the phases of being overwhelmed and panicked and I've been trying to remember feeling these feelings from last year, remember how I dealt with them and not let them take over 2019.  So this morning when I could feel it happening, I flung myself into the shower, used some of my lovely bits from the Rituals Advent Calendar (which I will 150% be buying again this year), and allowed my troubles to melt away.  Ok they melted away about 30%, but that's a start.

There are two products though that I wanted to bring to your attention because without fail, they've been putting a smile on my face every day and while I can carry one of them around, I'm very close to attempting to carry the other around too.


The Rituals Oasis de Fleurs EDP was the final item in the advent calendar if memory serves me correct, and it was so worth waiting for.  Mam, Joanne and I all fell in love with this 10ml mini beaut that can be bought for €9.50, and it also comes in a larger size too, and Joanne bought her and Mam one of the smaller ones the other day, such is her love for it too.

It's zesty with notes of mandarin, but it's the clean smelling magnolia that works with spring water and bamboo to give the most beautifully delicate uplifting scent.  It smells like a fresh spring day and as it's perpetually grey here in Ireland at the moment, I need all the help I can get to lift my mood!  I'll definitely buy the larger size when I finish this bottle and urge you to go give it a sniff.  They just opened a shop on Grafton Street before Christmas and there's one in Kildare Village and in Blanchardstown Shopping Centre along with a concession in Arnotts.  So you've no excuse.  Go try out the bits.


The second thing that's been lifting my mood is an oldie but a goodie.  I've gone through countless bottles of the Ritual of Dao Fragrance Sticks over the years and this scent just calms me like nothing else.  I got a mini one in the Blanch shop recently for €13.50 and in the advent calendar, there was also a room spray with the same scent that I'm probably going to bring around and spray it everywhere to be honest.  The whole range of the Ritual of Dao smells like white lotus and Yi Yi Ren.  So we're talking soft white florals that calm and soothe the soul and the mind.


I have the fragrance sticks on a little shelf just inside the office door, so when I walk in, even if the office is in an unmerciful mess, I smile.  I can be thinking "Would you like at the absolute state of the place Karen" and I just smile.  This scent is just incredible and is perfect for spring.  I know it's winter but shurrup yew.  I know I've said this loads, but the Ritual of Dao is my favourite of all of the ranges, and I wore the body and bed mist on Joanne's wedding day which helped me stay calm and smelling lovely.  Because the office is so small, I went for the smaller fragrance stick set, but they've a larger one too.  These make for gorgeous gifts, either for someone very lucky, or if you're feeling like you want to treat yourself.  


See what the bottle says?  One beautiful fragrance can create many beautiful memories.  They should also make ones that says One beautiful fragrance can take you from the edge of a mickey fit back to normality ok bye.

Thanks Rituals for getting me through the days.
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