Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Stop.......Pamper time!

The title of this post should be sung to MC Hammer's Can't Touch This.   Do do do do, do do do, can't touch this, stop... Pamper Time!

Anyway, since I've embarked on my weight loss journey, I've stopped rewarding myself with food like a good child and have been thinking of different ways to treat myself, that's low in calories.  I've made an executive decision to treat myself to something for every half stone I lose (and the little purchase I made over the weekend doesn't count, more on that next week).  I've lost half a stone exactly and decided to have an evening of pampering from head to toe!

First up, one needed a hair treatment.  Before Christmas I bought my friend Ruth a pot of Marilyn hair moisturiser from Lush and the following day picked myself up a pot, Happy Christmas to moi.  Because it's on the expensive side for a hair treatment (I think it's around €14 but I'm not 100%, will check), I keep it for proper treat time and Sunday night was that time.  I can't say enough good things about Marilyn and will continue to repurchase this forever and ever until they discontinue it and they'd better not or I won't be happy, k?  I leave this in for ages whenever I use it and it's brilliant stuff.

In New York a couple of years ago, I bought this mask from Bliss and forgotten I had it until recently when organising my stash.  It's called Steep Clean 15-minute facial treatment and I love using it.  Let me know if you'd like a review on it poodles.  So that was slathered onto my mush for the 15 minutes.

Onto the body next.  What better way to treat myself than to whip out the luxurious Cleansing Body Scrub and Mask (€59) from Emma Hardie.  Yes, it's a mask and scrub and smells like the Moringa cleanser from Emma's range.  When I met Emma before Christmas, she recommended applying this dry to the skin and letting it sit on the skin while in the bath.  I did what Emma commanded.  So there I was, sat in my bath with my hair mask, face mask and body mask on, looking like the Queen of Sheba, big green mask on my face and pink stuff on my skin.

After I rinsed everything off, I was left with a glowing visage, pampered locks and smooth, soft skin.  Next on my agenda was my most detested job in my beauty routine and that is applying body lotion, or in this case, Emma Hardie's Natural Lift and Sculpt Body Butter (€54).  I wish they'd make a perfume with this scent because I can't get enough of it.  After what felt like an eternity, I'd moisturised my whole self with the body butter and then had to wait in my freezing bedroom for it to soak in properly.

While shivering in my nudies (shaking from the cold burns calories don't you know), letting the body butter sink in (pampering oneself in the summer is much more fun), I applied my night time moisturiser and slathered my Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream and prayed for the ability of my body to absorb the products like never before, before I succumbed to frostbite.

I put on my fleeciest PJs, fleecy socks, dried my hair and was good to go.  Happy, warm and pampered.

What do you like to pamper yourself with?  And what should I do for the next half stone weight loss treat?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Lovely Girlie Healthy Bits - Week 3

This week I was down 2lbs, making a total weight loss of half a stone which I'm delighted with!  I'm not doing anything mad diet-wise, just making healthier choices and not eating rubbish.  I still enjoy my cup of tea after dinner with a couple of biscuits, ain't no way am I giving that up.

In the past where I've followed the Weight Watchers plan, I became obsessive with every morsel that was going in my mouth and I just got bored really quickly with it and didn't stick to it.  I know it's worked for lots of ladies out there but I got fed up trying to follow it properly and paying someone to tell me I hadn't lost weight.  Work, friends, family and blogging keeps me really busy and I have no interest in letting the whole weight loss thing take up lots of my time.  So these are the little things I'm doing and will be able to keep up as a way of life, not until I reach my goal and then stop.

I don't eat after my dinner, which I have at about 6.30 - 7pm or thereabouts.
I'm drinking at least 2 litres of water every day (and legging it to the bathroom countless times).
I'm watching portion control big time, that was one of the biggest things I had to change.
I bring my breakfast and lunch to work with me, I know what I'm eating then and saves me a few bob.

I'm finding it hard to get my exercise in every day so this week I need to be more organised.  I haven't taken a full length photo yet nor have I measured myself, I keep forgetting every week, but my clothes are feeling looser and that's such an incentive to keep going!  This weekend was a busy one and Joanne and I had a lovely Chinese on Saturday night as our payday treat.  We used to go overboard with take aways and have stopped it now except for once a month and sure it tastes so much better this way!

How was your weight loss this week?

Friday, January 27, 2012

January favourites

Yes I know, these posts always start with moi saying "Oh I can't believe another month is over, it went by so quickly".  Well let me tell you folks, this has been the longest month ever in my life, ever.  It feels like payday was ages ago and I have been living on twigs and dust since Christmas and been on a spending ban for the month.  I've had fun playing with some new products and reacquainting myself with some old favourites and without further ado, these are the products that helped me through the long month of January 2012, I'm not sorry to see the back of it!

First up is Avon.  Yes, I know, I've been harping on about it for ages now but I really do love the collection and I've used these bits the most so far.  Mystery Palette, Blackberry SuperShock Gel Liner, Apricot Mystery Nailwear Pro and Apricot Mystery lipstick.  I've had a look at some ebrochures from Avon reps online and all of the products from the Smoke and Mirrors collection are on sale!  So snap them up while there's a bargain to be had.

Obsessed isn't the word when I speak of my love for The Body Shop's Moringa Shower Gel.  Or maybe it is.  Am coming to the end of this bottle of happiness and I will be buying another one until Spring is over.  This makes me feel positive that Winter is fading away!

I have loved and then mourned the fact that Clinique's Stay-True foundation is not only made for me, but is discontinued.  Am raging.  If I head to the CCO in Antrim any time soon, I'll be buying back ups.  Stay tuned for a full review of this wonderous foundation.

Behold my new camera that I got for my birthday and Christmas.  The camera that I still don't know how to use properly.  Intelligent Auto is the only setting I have played with so far.  I still can't do macro shots properly yet which annoys me since I'm following what they say to do, but once they start talking aperture, I'm gone.  I might look into doing an evening course on how to use it properly!  It does do brilliant quality videos though, phew, at least I can do one thing properly on it.

Chanel's Rouge Allure Laque in Empire was my Christmas present to myself.  It was love at first swatch.  I'm raging to find out that the Rouge Allure Laques are also being discontinued.  This is just mean.  First my foundation and now this?

One of my favourites of the month was people's reactions to my letter to 19 year old me.  I had so many lovely comments, emails, texts and even texts to Joanne and I was so touched and overwhelmed by people's kind words, so if you left me a comment or "Liked" the post on Facebook, thank you.  It was good to look back over the last few years and see that after everything, I'm OK.

So that's January over, bring on February!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Clarins Extra-Firming Range coming in March!

Last week I went to the launch of Clarins Extra-Firming range that will be on counters in March, hopefully in time for Mother's Day!  The Firming Range was first launched a massive (not too massive considering my age ahem) 34 years ago and is the fourth generation, best selling, award winning, number 1 anti-ageing product in France for the past 15 years.  Phew, that's quite the CV it has there eh?  Clarins have focused the organization of the skin's structure, giving the cells a proper environment to communicate using organic lemon thyme that acts like a gel, allowing the skin structure to bounce back, preserving it's firmness and organic green banana extract which encourages the synthesis of collagen and strengthens the connections between fibres and cells.  All very scientific isn't it, but that's what happens after 7 years of research!
There are going to be five products in the range.  Two Extra-Firming Day Wrinkle lifting creams; one for dry skin and one for all skin types, an Extra-Firming Day Wrinkle lifting lotion SPF 15 for all skin types and two Extra-Firming Night Rejuvenating creams; again one for dry skin and one for all skin types.  The day creams come in at €67 and the night cream €71, so not cheap but you know you're getting good stuff with Clarins and your mam will love you for it.  Lovely Mammy Bits already has her eye on my day cream and night cream I was given to play with.... We are all Clarins freaks in the Constantine fambly and when we went to New York a couple of years ago, we spent about an hour and a half in Bloomingdales at the Clarins counter, having chats with a sales assistant from Swords, small world and we bought so much.  Like a lot.  But you know what?  You know you're safe with the brand, they know their stuff.

Clarins Extra-Firming Day Wrinkle lifting lotion SPF 15

Clarins Extra-Firming Night Rejuvenating cream
Now, Clarins know that times are tough and there's no point spending this kind of money on products if you're not using them properly.  Enter Clarins Skin Time.  This is available on all Clarins counters in department stores and leading pharmacies and it's a genius idea.  For 20-30 minutes of your time, the beauty experts will show you (for free) how to use their products, what to use and how much to use.  At the launch, we had the opportunity to have our own Skin Time and I picked up some great tips from Siobhan from Cork.

She showed me how to use the cleanser, toner, hydrating mask (you can put it on your lips, who knew?!), exfoliator (I'm totally buying this, it's not gritty, you apply it to dry skin, let it sit a minute or two and then rub it off, amazing), eye cream, facial oil and moisturiser.  When Siobhan showed me how much moisturiser I should be using, I almost had to squint to see the teeny weeny amount (compared to the big blob I usually use) but of course she was right and when she applied the moisturiser to my face, I wasn't left with a big shiny head on me waiting for it to sink in.  Since then I've been using a cotton bud to take my night cream out of the jar, it helps me control the amount and this way, my product will last longer.

Stay tuned to the blog this weekend where I'll be putting up a video of how Clarins recommend applying cleanser, eye cream and moisturiser.  The girls at the counter will do a much better job at explaining how to use the products than I will but I'll give it a shot for the craic!

So ladies, what's your favourite Clarins product?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blazin' weekend!

I was in Limerick the weekend visiting Will's family.  We had a lovely day on Saturday which started off by going out for breakfast, followed by a trip to the Milk Market.  We then drove out to Adare which was lovely.  Such a cute little town with lots of lovely restaurants and a visit to Adare Manor is a must.  As we were planning to be out for the day, I wanted to wear something nice but also comfortable and this is what I came up with.

Blazer : H&M recent €29.99.  Similar.
Top: Matalan £7
Jeans: New Look
Boots: Steve Madden

I got this blazer a few weeks ago in H&M for €29.99 which is amazing value and it's so comfortable to wear.  I couldn't wait to wear it and thought the stripy top from Matalan would go with it perfectly.  I picked it up just after Christmas for £7 up in Belfast.  I'm going to get so much wear out of the blazer and took some advice about buying staples for my wardrobe rather than the leopard print blazer I'd had my eye on!  I can't wait to pair it up with something else.

Do you have that staple jacket you can't live without?


Matte glitter polish - Essence Blue Addicted

Back in September, I read this post on beaut.ie where the ladies talked about putting a matte top coat over glitter polish.  I couldn't believe it had never occurred to me to mattify glitter!  Anyway, I recently signed up for Pinterest and have been busy browsing and finding inspiration to keep my creative juices flowing.  I saw this photo and immediately wanted to try it myself, so here goes!  I applied one coat of Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Thinking of Blue and two coats of Essence's Blue Addicted and let them dry.

I then applied a coat of Essence's Matte Top Coat and here's the before and after.  I am in The Love with it.

I love how the tiny glitter on the nail stands out when the matte top coat is applied.  I can wear any colour nail polish to work but for those that aren't so lucky, I think it's much more office friendly when the glitter is mattified.

Looking at these photos make moi happy.  I am most definitely a mattifying glitter convert and shall continue to do it!  I'm thinking having all matte nails except for the ring finger as an accent glittery nail?  Imagine how gorgeous Revlon's Facets of Fuchsia would be all mattified.

Have you tried this before ladies?  The Essence top coat is only a couple of euro, I can't remember exactly, I've had it a while. 

Click here to follow me on Pinterest and if you want an invite to sign up, leave your email address below and I'll send one to you!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Eve Taylor Advanced Skin Therapy first look

I'll hold my hands up and say that up until last year, I'd never heard of Eve Taylor and her products.  When I took a look at the website and read some reviews online, I came to the conclusion that I'd obviously been living under a rock.  Eve Taylor is massive in the skincare world and launched her own professional aromatherapy skincare line in 1968 which was soon followed by a line for those at home who wanted to have the spa experience at home.

The newest range in the skincare line is the Advanced Skin Therapy which is packed full of active ingredients to help replicate the skin's natural functions while incorporating Eve Taylor's essential oils.  I was given some of the products to try out and when it comes to skin care, it takes time for a review to happen.  I've been trying out other products and have it's finally Eve's turn, so stay tuned for a review in about a month or so with a more in depth look at the science behind it all.  I thought I'd give you a run through on these few products first.

First up is the Hyaluronic Acid (€39.95).  The scientist in me was dying to learn more about this and I discovered that we have Hyaluronic Acid in our skin tissue and as we age and have more exposure to sunlight, our levels of Hyaluronic Acid decreases.  Applying this to the skin provides intense hydration and fills the space between collagen and elastin fibres and helps keep the skin plump.  I want plump skin thanks.  I've had a lot of sun exposure over the years and am excited to give it a go. 

Eve Taylor Hyaluronic Acid
Second up is the Telomere DNA Cream (€49.95).  I feel like I'm back in college again learning all about the science behind the product, it's great!  Telomeres form part of your DNA at the end of the chromosome.  When your cells divide, the telomeres get shorter until the cells can't divide any more and the ageing process quickens.  Telomere DNA Cream promises to help increase the lifespan of the cells, sounds like powerful stuff doesn't it?
Eve Taylor Telomere DNA
Of course there needs to be an eye cream when we're talking skincare products.  The Eye Complex (€32.95) contains ingredients to target fine lines and dark circles.  It's a light cream that has anti inflammatory properties and contains both Vitamin C and antioxidants.

Eve Taylor Eye Complex
Triple C Vitamin Complex (€48.95) contains three forms of Vitamin C to ensure maximum results and leaving you with radiant skin while helping protect against environmental stress and free radicals.  After reading a bit about Vitamin C and it's role in helping improve your skin, the Complex has stable forms of Vitamin C, so those with sensitive skin don't have to worry about the acidity of Vitamin C exfoliating their skin. 

Eve Taylor Triple C Vitamin Complex
Ultra Rich (€41.95) is basically the powerhouse of the range.  It contains Hylauronic acid, Alpha lipoic acid which helps prevent future skin damage, Essential oils and vitamins, creating a product that helps "over-stressed, dehydrated and prematurely ageing skin".  

Eve Taylor Ultra Rich
Finally is a little gadget that had me stumped at first!  What you're looking at below is an Ion Wand (€32.95), which helps the active ingredients in the products above to be absorbed into the skin more effectively using Ion Technology.  What you do is apply whatever product you're using onto your skin.  The wand doesn't have an on/off button.  Instead, you create a circuit by holding the wand in your hand and making sure your hands are on the silver part along the body of the wand.  Then by placing the silver tip of the wand onto your face, you complete the circuit.  The moisture in the product allows the small electric current to flow through the wand and it vibrates gently.  The wand stops vibrating automatically when the product has been absorbed into the skin and is dry.  I can't wait to have a proper play with this and see if it makes any difference!  The current is said to help the product to be pulled deeper into the skin and helps it absorb quicker.

Eve Taylor Ion Wand
I'm looking forward to getting stuck into these products and letting you know how I get on with them.  Has anyone tried any Eve Taylor products?

Click here to learn more about Eve Taylor and her vast range of products.  The Advanced Skin Therapy range is only one in a huge number of products!

The post that you should send (accidentally on purpose) to your loved one for Valentine's Day gift ideas!

One of my friends at work, Una, inspired me to put this wee little post together for you.  She comes into my office every day to ask what I'll be blogging about the following day and yesterday she asked if I'd anything coming up on Valentine's Day.  She said her boyfriend gets her chocolates every year but she's trying to be good and not eat too much crap.  Immediately I thought of The Body Shop's Chocomania range that is out just in time for the big V Day and she begged that I email him the link.  So here's an even better one Una, lots of ideas for Aidan!

First up is The Body Shop's Chocomania Range.  You can use as much of it as you like and not put on a pound!  Joanne and I are big chocolate fans and now we get to indulge, guilt free....   Here are some of the products from the range.

Left: Chocomania Body Scrub (€18.95).  Top right: Chocomania Body Lotion (€13.50).  Bottom right: Chocomania Shower Cream (€8.95).

There's also a Body Butter (€18.95), Lip Butter (€7.50) and Soap (€3.95) that completes the collection.  The Body Butter is described as "the most lavish body butter from The Body Shop to date" so it sounds pretty amazing doesn't it?  Unless you don't like chocolate.  Then this is lost on you.  But fear not, we have more gift ideas for you non choccy lovers!

Sally Hansen have compiled The Cupid Colour Collection featuring four pretty, girly colours that'll give you "the loving feeling".  Now, Joanne and I are mahoosive fans of the Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure range and couldn't wait to show you these little beauties.  Coming in at €8.95, there's a shade for everyone for Valentine's Day, ranging from bubblegum pink to the deep wine shade of Red Zin.  Love these.
L-R: Back to the Fuschia, I Pink I Can, Red Zin, Right Said Red.

Finally, to complete this installment of present ideas for Valentine's Day, we have Lush goodies.  It wouldn't be V Day without them!  Let's take a look shall we?

Top left: The Leap Frog Bath Ballistic (€3.50).  A wink and a nod to the fact that this is a leap year, geddit? this little froggy has the scent of jasmine, sandlewood, ylang ylang, rose and neroli and you know what?  All I have to hear is the word jasmine and I know that this frog will be in my bath very soon.  There's a limited number of these little guys that have a secret message in them to help pop the question!

Middle Left: Love Potion massage bar (€7.50).  Containing shea butter and cocoa butter, this little bottle shaped massage bar will set the mood folks, fragranced with the Love perfume scent.

Bottom Left: Magic Mushroom bubble bar (€3.00).  This is a dinky strawberry and vanilla scented bubble bar that will give you mountains of bubbles in the only way that Lush can!

Middle: 25.43 perfume (€35.00/30 ml, €16.25/10ml).  This is a wedding perfume created by Mark Constantine (ooh I wonder are we related!) that has a lime tonka top note, litsea, lemongrass and lemon myrtle as the middle notes and finishing with vanilla and ylang ylang.  It took our possible relative *ahem* (Constantine is a very rare name in these neck of the woods), 25.43 minutes to create this scent and I can't wait to get a whiff of it!

Top Right: A Million Kisses Lip Tint (€6.25) is a rose scented rosy red lip tint giving lots of moisture with a delicate tint.  It can also be used on the cheeks for a flush of colour.

Bottom Right: Sweetheart soap (€3.75/100g).  This is too cute!  Looking like one of those dinky love heart sweets, it's fragranced with jasmine, sandalwood, ylang ylang and vanilla and contains essential oils, so you can clean your bits and smell lovely in the process!

Last but not least is Lush's gift boxes and they've something for everyone here from the girly girls to the boys so let's take a closer look.

Top left: Lots of Love mini hatbox (€29.95).  First of all, the hatbox is too cute for words.  Second of all, this contains a lot of stuff so here goes!  It has Sex Bomb bath ballistic, Leap Frog bath ballistic, Magic Mushroom bubble bar, Sweetheart soap, Ro's Argan Body Conditioner and Sweet Lips lip scrub.

Top right: Dirty gift (€17.95).  It's a known fact that boys are dirty, so they should be happy to receive this complete grooming set.  Each of the products in the box has it's own scent and when they're all used together, the combined scents make up the full Dirty fragrance.  This is genius!  And a grand way to make the boys take care of themselves, you want to smell nice Mr?  Use all your bits there!

Bottom left: P.S. I Love You (€23.50).  Here we have a box full of rosemantical goodies without the bad Irish accent from Gerard Butler.  This contains Sweetheart soap, It's Raining Men shower gel, Soft Coeur massage bar and *ahem* Silky Underwear dusting powder.... If anyone knows what Silky Underwear dusting powder is, please leave a comment because my mind is racing now!

Bottom right: Do Knot Disturb (€23.50).  This knotted up scarf contains the French Kiss bubble bar, Dirty toothy tabs, Lust soap (which I need to smell, it's jasminey) and Soft Coeur massage bar and is finished off with a Do Knot Disturb sign for your door!  This is really dinky and will be available year round as it's what you'd need for a (dirty) weekend away!

So ladies, feel free to Facebook, Tweet, email this link to your loved ones to give them very subliminal ideas of what they can get you for Valentine's Day!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Make up look with Apricot Mystery palette from Avon

I've been dying to play with Avon's palettes since getting them to try out last week.  I used the Mystery palette (€11), pictured below, during the week at work and couldn't wait to show you what it looks like on!  I was delighted with how green it made my eyes look and discovered that they're much more pigmented when using a brush rather than the sponge applicator or my finger, so brushes at the ready!

Avon Mystery palette
I started off by applying Avon's Ideal Flawless Liquid Foundation in the shade Nude Chair.  I love these foundations and they give me the perfect amount of coverage, medium, but buildable.  It evens out my skin tone and still lets my skin show through.

Next I worked on the eyes.  In hindsight I should have started on the eyes before doing my foundation.  There was some fallout with the shadows and it would have been handier being able to wipe it off and then slap the coverage on my face.  I slapped a bit of Two Faced Shadow Insurance on upper eyelid and below the lower lashes.

I started off by applying the rose gold shadow, pictured on the top left, all over the upper and lower eyelid. I applied it dry as a wash of colour and wanted it to show up a bit more, so I wet my brush with some Fix + and applied another layer of it.  

I applied the coral shadow, pictured on the middle left, on the middle of the upper eyelid and the brown shadow, on the bottom left, in the outer V and just under the lower lashes.

After completing the whole look, I took the SuperShock gel liner in the shade Blackberry and applied it on the waterline.  This makes my eyes look so green!  Blackberry is a lusciously pigmented dark burgundy with shimmer running through it and is less harsh than a black liner.
I took the coral eyeshadow from above and used it on my cheeks as a blush and loved how it looked.  I applied a coat of mascara and the eyes were done.  I tried two of the lipsticks from the Smoke and Mirrors collection to see how they worked with the palette.  Take a look below.

Left: Apricot Mystery on lips.   Middle: Nude and Infused on lips.  Right: Nude and Infused on lips, Blackberry on eyes.

I wore this look on my eyes during the week with the Two Faced Shadow Insurance and after applying it at 6am, by the time I got home at about 5pm, it hadn't creased a single bit, I was delighted!  I'm loving the Mystery palette and can't wait to play with the other one.  Nice work Avon!


Sunday, January 22, 2012

NOTD - Avon's Apricot Mystery

I love peachy products, from lipsticks to eyeshadows, blushes to nail polishes.  One of my favourite products from Avon's latest collection, Smoke and Mirrors, is this nail polish in the shade Apricot Mystery and was applied last Sunday night.  Of course, not getting home from work in time for daylight meant that I had to wait until the weekend to take photos of it.  Behold Avon's Nailwear Pro in Apricot Mystery.

A creamy polish, this takes three coats to be fully opaque, leaving you with a pink toned apricot peach nail perfect for spring time.  It's darker in colour than Barry M's Peach Melba which I found a bit too light for me.  After applying it and gazing at it lovingly, I thought that this colour will look stunning with a tan and will be taken on holidays with me without a doubt.  I don't have a holiday booked yet, but you know me, always thinking ahead!

This polish comes in at €8 but keep an eye out for introductory offers, Avon always have them.  Click here to go to Avon's website and find a representative or browse the ebrochure.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Lovely Girlie Healthy Bits - Week 2

This week I was down 2.5lbs and I don't know how!  I did hardly any exercise whatsoever, but I did eat well, except for the fried chicken we had on Saturday and Sunday.  But in fairness, I had less than I usually would have, so making a conscious decision albeit a small one.  Breakfasts and lunches are easy to prepare for and I bring them to work with me.  For dinners I had a good few salads and have picked up a few bits to make them more interesting and I actually enjoy them now, weird, I know!

The only bad day dinner wise was Wednesday where I didn't have much time at home after work before running out the door again and I had biscuits for dinner.  Kimberly Mikados if you were wondering.  Wednesday was also the day where I'd planned on wearing a knee length dress and black tights out, put it on, went about my business putting make up on etc.  I don't own a full length mirror, there's a 3/4 one downstairs in the hall so I had a little look at myself as I was ready to go out there door and nearly had heart failure when I noticed that my stupid dress had shrunk a good six inches in length in the bloody wash.  I hate my legs but felt comfortable wearing this knee length guna, so there I was, ready to go out and had to change into bloody jeans!  The dress was just too short for me to go out in and feel comfortable.  Raging.  So that made me want to buckle down and exercise more so I can wear nice clothes again.

How was everyone's week?

Friday, January 20, 2012

A letter to 19 year old me

Dear 19 year old me

Right now you're a year into your Science degree in UCD and drinking Guinness because it's the cheapest thing out there, what can you do, you're working in Dunnes and need to make your money stretch while also getting drunk!  I know you want to leave college but Dad won't let you.  He just wants you to be the first in the family to graduate from college and I'll put it this way, if you hadn't done the course, you wouldn't have met two of your best friends, Cliona and Kim.  You will go to Ocean City Maryland this summer with your other two bessie mates, Caroline and Eileen and finally see New York for the first of many times.

You'll finish your degree but not know what to do and decide to move to Canada and get married there.  After spending your teen years wanting to live outside of Ireland, you'll be so homesick and every morning you wake up, the first thing you'll do is look at the clock and calculate what time it is at home and wonder what everyone is doing.  You'll come home every year for a holiday and it'll break your heart leaving everyone.  There's only so many last-drinks with everyone you can do without having a nervous breakdown.  You'll do a computer course in Ottawa and will become a computer genius, well, whizz-kid at least and forget it all two years later.

You'll get a cockapoo doggie in Canada, Bailey.  He's a little brat and has the funniest personality and will be your best pal and you'll be with him longer than your husband.  After 9 years of marriage, it won't work out.  Telling mam and dad will be one of the hardest things you'll ever do but you will be astounded at how friends and friends of friends will offer their help to you.  You'll have people like your brother's best friend offering you a free car and you'll see just how amazing people are.  You'll be happy you stuck to your guns and didn't buy a house over the southside, you're a northsider through and through!

You'll spend so long living in someone's shadow that you won't have any faith or belief that you can do anything well and be good at anything.  You'll be afraid to learn how to drive but you'll learn and see that you are well able and kick yourself for not learning sooner!  You'll depend on him too much and lose your sparkle, but you'll get yourself back, maybe not the way you are now, but you'll get there.  You'll see that you are good enough on your own.  You'll be left with a massive mortgage but you'll be able to pay it yourself and have pride that you're not relying on your parents or spouse for anything.  It'll be hard but you'll save and go on holidays and do it all yourself.

Dad will get sick and you'll learn everything there is to know about cancer, treatments, what he should and shouldn't eat and even though you're going through your own stuff with the separation, you'll feel like you have to be the one in control, the one that everyone is looking to and you'll suck it up and be the big sister and eldest child.  Dad passing away will change you forever.  You will remember every song that was on the radio going to and from the hospital in his last month.  You'll go off lasagna after making a big batch to do everyone for dinners.  You'll see that you could do the separation and divorce 10 times over compared to this.  The family will literally fall to pieces after Dad's gone, I know it's hard to see that now because we're all so close right now, but there's nothing you can do about it.  There's no point in me even going into it here because you won't believe it.

You'll work in Dublin Castle (I know!) for a few years and they'll be some brilliant years, what with 12 hour drinking binges with Ruth, mortifying Christmas parties and seeing The Tudors being filmed there, great craic altogether.  You'll start working in the same hospital that you did you work experience in!  You'll meet some of the funniest and most amazing girls ever that will help you through all of this.  You'll see you were meant to be there, even if you are the most squeamish person you know and shouldn't be allowed in a hospital!  You'll have some of the best laughs and will start to see the old you back again.

It's not all doom and gloom though 19 year old moi.  You'll finally pluck up the courage to start a blog.  What's a blog you say?  Yes, they probably don't have them back then but basically, you know all that make up you currently own?  Well, that stash will grow exponentially with all the trips to New York and you'll decide to start writing about it as a hobby.  People will tell you you're good at it and it'll take you a while to believe them and you won't believe that readers come to visit every day and leave comments!  About what you're writing!  Starting the blog will change your life.  You'll have a focus and a distraction and you will absolutely love it.  You'll decide to call it Lovelygirliebits, I know, your rude sense of humour is still there all these years in the future.  See, when you decide to call it that, you won't imagine having to actually say it out loud to people!  Ah well, they won't forget it :)

Here's some advice from your future self

1. Don't eat so much in Canada due to homesickness, you'll put on so much weight and find it so hard to shift, you're the thinnest you've been in ages now.

2. Learn how to change a tyre on your car, it'll come in handy on January 16th, 2012.

3. Try to find a house with a smaller garden, you hate cutting the grass.

4. Don't dye the living daylights out of your hair, it's the nicest it'll ever be right now, you want the Rachel haircut but will be happy with the Phoebe.

5. Enjoy doing the Body For Life program with Stephen, it'll work and you'll both have great craic.  Enjoy spending that time with him because you'll miss a lot in Canada, so file it all in the noggin.

6. When you bring mam and Joanne to New York the first time, don't go past Duane Reade's on the way back to the hotel on the first day.  Mam will almost have heart failure after you spending months telling her how safe it is there, only for a lunatic to have gone on a stabbing rampage, yeah, course it happened then.

7. Listen to your gut, you're usually right.

So moi, you'll have a rollercoaster few years.  Keep on smiling as best you can, you'll be grand.  You're a funny fecker and you'll keep yourself laughing.  And if not, your Twitter buddies will :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Liz Earle skincare review

I've spoken about my night cream, eye cream and now it's time for chats about my day cream!  For the past few months I've been testing out Liz Earle's Skin Repair Light Moisturiser and Instant Boost Skin Tonic anc can't believe I haven't reviewed it yet.  I've made it my mission to nudge you all into taking better care of your skin after I decided to do the same last September.

The Liz Earle team asked me if I'd like to try out the moisturiser and tonic and having having much love for the Cleanse & Polish and Superskin Concentrate, I took them up on their kind offer.  They asked what type of skin I have to make sure they sent me the right one for my skin, bonus!  Behold my skin care products that I love.

I need to tell you about the Instant Boost Skin Tonic first.  I'm not a big toner user, but this was love at first whiff.  It smells amazing.  End of.  It's floral and light and is an absolute joy to use.  Liz Earle, I would be your best friend if you had this in perfume form.  It is alcohol-free and contains calendula, chamomile, cucumber and vitamin E to soothe and refresh the skin without drying it out.  I love using it to freshen up my skin when wearing no make up.  But now that I've started working out in the evenings, my face is purple a lot.  So after my shower, I love to sweep a cotton pad drenched in this all over my skin to help cool my poor visage down.  Love this and will purchase myself.  The 200 ml bottle is a very reasonable €13.75 and you can buy it here.  While getting that link for you there, I've discovered that you can buy a spritzer bottle too for €14!  That will be mine thank you very much.

The Skin Repair Light Moisturiser is exactly that; a light moisturiser for the day time for us combination/oily skinned ladies.  I don't like anything too heavy on my face during the day, I leave that job for my night cream.  It has a little pump dispenser that dispenses the weeniest amount of moisturiser, so I end up using three to four pumps each time.  It absorbs easily into my skin with no residue, no clogged pores, no shine, just smooth, soft skin.  I'm left with a perfect base to then cover with loads of make up!  It contains borage oil, echinacea, hops, avocado oil and vitamiin E that help moisturise, protect and balance your skin, leaving a lovely glow.  A 50 ml pump will set you back €20.50 and this is lasting me ages.  There are other moisturisers depending on skin type that you can find here, so choose whichever one you like!

Would I recommend these?  Most heartily.  They've been a welcome addition to my skin care routine and sure ladies, it's Liz Earle, she knows what she's talking about.  Would I purchase them myself?  Absolutely and I will.  I have a few different skin care ranges I'm testing out so when that's over, I'll be stocking up on these again.

You can buy Liz Earle products online here or in Wild & Greene in Milltown.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Outfit of the day for cookin' some fried chicken!

I decided to cook for Karen and Will on Saturday, since they are both always cooking for me, so they deserved a night off :)  I cooked the yummiest and crunchiest chicken ever!  You can find recipe and picture here but I still had to go and get some ingredients, so I wanted something comfy to wear to the shops.  Say hello to my go to dress.
I particularly like my Riverdance pose, don't you?
Dress - H&M
Boots - TK Maxx
Tights - Jonathan Aston Heritage Collection - Arnotts
Belt - Penneys
Scarf - Corte De Ingles in Spain

I love this dress.  I got it in September in H&M for €14.99.  It's a light cotton with some stretch to it and it's so comfortable.  It's the type of dress that can be dressed up or dressed down, whatever your mood.

I have to say I really love the tights.  I have never worn anything else besides black tights, and would never have thought of wearing pattern tights either, but these were in a goody bag from the Arnotts Spring/Summer preview collection so I tried them on, not knowing if I'd even leave the house in them.  They are a gorgeous red/purple/burgandy colour and they are so comfortable.  I didn't once have to stop once to pull them back up my leg!

And of course I had to add a scarf to the ensemble!!  I think there would be something wrong with me if I didn't!

Do you have a go to dress that you can dress up or down?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Confessions of a beauty blogger

I thought it was time I come clean and give you the lowdown on my beauty bad habits, well, some of them anyway!  I hope you'll still want to visit after what you are about to read....

I use 2 in 1 shampoo & conditioner.  There, I said it.  I know this is frowned upon in the beauty world, but ladies, I wash my hair every day.  Sometimes on the days I don't wash it, I use my Batiste dry shampoo but I don't like using this all the time.  It's grand when you're stuck but I don't like to depend on it.  Now that I've started working out, I'm back to washing my hair every day and yes, I like to be lazy and use 2 in 1 shampoo & conditioner.  So does Joanne.  And we've seen what her hair looks like!  Pantene is our go to 2 in 1 and we always buy a couple of bottles when they're on special offer and stock up.  We're using this one at the moment and it leaves my hair really shiny and healthy looking.  We love it.  The End.

I could write a book on the trauma I put my nails through... My poor nails.  I really don't take care of them at all.  When I'm stressed, I bite them and nibble at the skin around them or at my cuticles, I know, it's terrible, I can't help it.  My nails have been splitting and peeling quite a bit for months now but no matter what I use, it doesn't work.  That's mainly because when I take my polish off, my nails are dry and I peel them some more. The poor things never have a chance to grow properly and I haven't had long nails in yonks.

I've mentioned this on Twitter before, but one of my worst habits is peeling nail polish off.  Oh but it's so satisfying when I can get it all off in one go!  It leaves my nails in tatters and yet I continue to do it, what is wrong with me?!  My last nail confession is pure laziness on my behalf.  I don't always remove my nail polish, even when they're chipped to bits.  I wrote about my nail shame here, but do you think I've learned my lesson and stopped doing it?  No.  I'll go hang my head in shame now...

I think (hope) that my next confession is one that a lot of you ladies will relate to.  I don't always take my make up off before going to bed, especially if I've been out at the weekend.  During the week I'm better because I have a shower every night, but give me a few drinks and I come in and face plant the pillow.  Regarding mid-week make up removal, I have cut out using wipes and my skin loves me for it, so if there's one thing you can take away from this post, it's to cut out the wipes!  You will thank me for it.

Finally we have the job I hate the most in the beauty world.  I am so bad at cleaning my make up brushes.  So I hardly ever do it.  I know, I'm surprised I haven't been struck down with mad eye infections, but I have no excuse.  Laziness is all it is.  It's so boring and takes ages and takes a lot of space when trying to dry them, excuses excuses.   When I do get off my behind and actually do it, I use Johnson's Baby Shampoo for deep cleaning and MAC's brush cleanser for spot cleaning.

 I'll do it this weekend, OK?....

So what are your beauty bad habits ladies?  Don't leave me hanging on my own here, sharing is caring!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Avon Smoke and Mirrors collection - first look and swatches

January has been a long month so far, I mean, it feels like Christmas was ages ago!  We're all broke and waiting for payday and need something to look forward to.  Enter Avon.  Launching in February, the Limited Edition Smoke and Mirrors Collection is filled with subtle colours and vibrant shades to add a bit of oomph to our make up collections and help us get through the winter months.

There are two palettes in the collection, the first of which is Smoke and Mirrors (€11).  Containing four complimentary shades, this subtle palette can take you from day to night depending on how heavy handed you decide to be.  The swatches below are without a primer.  As you can see, the lightest shade isn't too pigmented but I'm planning on giving it a go with a base and see how I go.  I think the purple shimmery shadow looks a bit like MAC's Trax and I've swatched them side by side and they're pretty similar.

The second palette in the collection is called Mystery (€11) and contains the most gorgeous coral eye shadow ever.  The rose gold eyeshadow on the top right of the quad doesn't show up much on my arm but just let me at it with a base!  A bronze shadow and lilac one complete the sunset quartet.

There are two SuperShock Gel Eyeliners (€8) in the collection and they are both stunning.  They made me break my rule of not swatching make up until I've taken photos of it!  First up is the shade Blackberry.  Just look at it.  The big swatch is of it in sunlight.  I wanted to show you how much dimension it has and it's one of my favourite liners ever.  It has the same consistency as the other SuperShock liners and they stay put.  I did a quick test of 40 minutes on a crosstrainer with this on and it didn't budge!  Behold Blackberry...

Golden Fawn is the second SuperShock Gel Eyeliner and is just as stunning as Blackberry.  It's a champagne metallic eyeliner that brightens up the eye immediately, especially when worn on the waterline or inner corner. Just gorgeous ladies...

There are two Nailwear Pro Nail Enamels (€8) in the collection, Star and Apricot Mystery, which is shown below.  I currently have this on my nails right now and will review it when I get some daylight!  Needless to say, it's a vibrant apricot/peach cream nail polish that will make my Top 10 summer polishes, I just know it.

There are three lipsticks in the collection, pictured below.  From left to right is Nude and Infused, Apricot Mystery and Purple Hazed, all retailing at €9.

In the tube, Nude and Infused looked like it was going to be really dark, bronzey and metallic and I wasn't sure I was going to like it.  However, when applied, the pink in my lips turned it into a gorgeous rose gold shade that looks more glossy than metallic and was a real surprise to me!  Is it terrible that I'm already thinking this will be lovely with a tan in the summer?

Second up is Apricot Mystery and my favourite of the trio.  Creamy, glossy and pigmented without being over the top, this has my name written all over it.  Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!

Last up is Purple Hazed.  Again, looking at the tube, I thought this lipstick was going to be hideously frosty but thankfully it was creamy and glossy like the other two.  I've never worn a purple lipstick before and am excited to try incorporating it into a make up look to show you all. 

To order a brochure, click here and fill in your details.  Or go over to their Facebook page for more information!

I'll be reviewing these properly soon but couldn't wait to show you everything first.  Does anything stand out to you so far?  What would you like me to review first?
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