Thursday, May 29, 2014

Joanne's getting married today!

I couldn't put up a normal beauty post today because it just didn't sit right with me when my sister is getting married!!

If you've been following us on Twitter and Instagram, you'll know this already because we've mentioned it a bit along the way over the past few months.  We've been careful about what we've said to whom when it came to details about the big day because we want it to be a surprise for everyone there!  We'll be doing blog posts and videos about the whole process when the newlyweds come back from their honeymoon and I'm going to try to film a wee bit while doing my bridesmaid-y duties, but mostly I'll be looking after Joanne, making sure she looks fabulous all day and enjoying the whole thing!

I can't wait for you to see Joanne in her dress which is amaaaaaaazing!And no doubt there'll be some photos floating around the interwebs later today, but until then, have a squizz at the two lovebirds that are saying I Big Fat Do today!  I give you Joanne and Will, selfie style!

I can't wait!!!

There's going to be no blog post tomorrow and I'm ok with that!  We're going to have a fantastic day today and I know you guys understand how busy this week was, so you know what, I'm giving myself the day off!  I have some major plans for the blog and Youtube channel over the next few months, so having an extra long weekend this weekend is exactly what I need to take it easy, chill out and recharge the batteries.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Relying on SPF in makeup - my experience

Let me set the scene.  It was a lovely sunny day and the Battle of Clontarf was on in the park beside where I live.  Usually on the weekends I don't wear much makeup, but I was going to vlog a bit so decided to whip on a bit of slap.  I applied a layer of my much loved Bourjois 123 Perfect CC cream, plonked on a bit of mascara, filled in my brows a bit and headed out to see all the lovely menly men pretending to fight each other in the battle.  I'd say we were there for about an hour and a half because it was so crowded, but made sure to devour a 99 ice cream because the rules of life are if you're in a park and it's sunny, you have to have a 99.

I came home and noticed the top of my forehead was red.  Burnt.  I cursed at myself in the mirror, then got scared at what Una from work would think as she's my SPF info nurse and I knew she'd kill me.  I wondered how that happened because the CC cream had SPF 15 in it.  But then I copped on and realised what had happened.

When I apply any base, be it a BB cream, CC cream or foundation, I always start at the centre of my face and work outwards and upwards.  I focus on my cheeks, nose, chin and forehead as those are the areas I need coverage and if there are areas that don't need coverage, then I don't apply it there.  Simple as.  So evidently that day, the top of my forehead was looking grand.

I think I took it for granted that because I was applying something with SPF in it, that I'd be protected, but never put any thought into how I apply it.  I don't apply it to my ears, or to the very outer parts of my forehead and cheeks, so they were unprotected too.   Also, think about how much foundation you use every day.  Maybe a pea sized amount?  And that's your base mixed with SPF, so not very much at all.  And when you work it into the skin, you're sheering it out to a thin layer.  Imagine applying pure SPF to your face, you'd use the same amount if not more and would work it all over your face, making sure everywhere was covered and protected.

Then I started thinking about bases and how they fade as the day goes on.  Who applies their base in the morning, only for their nose and forehead to become shiny by lunchtime and then when it's time to head home from work, it looks like you've nowt on your face?

I've been doing some research and have a monster post coming soon on SPFs with lots of tips from nurses and doctors I've spoken to about it.  There's not an awful lot of research out there on SPFs in moisturisers or makeup, but I've learned the hard way, the burny way, not to rely on SPF in foundation if it's sunny and I'm outside a lot.  You probably know the score anyway when it comes to sun protection.  They always say to apply it every couple of hours, but sure there's no way we'd be doing that with our makeup!  We'd need to apply about 4 layers of foundation through the course of the day if that was the case!

The British Association of Dermatologists has a bit of information on SPF in moisturisers, but essentially they say that if you're going to be mostly indoors or just outside in short bursts, then it's ok to rely on SPF in moisturisers or makeup, but if you're out in the sun like I was, use a proper SPF.

This isn't a do this or I'll bate you type of post, it's a hmm, have a think about this type of post.  A bit of sun awareness if you will.  For me, I'll keep wearing my foundations with SPF in them on days when I'm at work, but for sunny days, days where I'm in the park, out and about, my face will be protected with one of the SPFs above and then I can apply my foundation, happy in the knowledge that I won't burn the mush off myself!


Models Own Polish For Tans - Beach Bag photos, review

Best reply ever was when I asked Joanne if she liked my nail polish and she said "It's gorgeous, it makes you looked tanned".  BINGO!

I was wearing Beach Bag from the Models Own Polish For Tans collection which is designed to enhance your tan, so it worked!  I wasn't wearing any tan, so if it makes pasty old me look a bit darker, then happy days.

Beach Bag is me in nail polish form.  You know I love my brights in the summer.  I love my peaches and corals all year round and this was the shade that I knew I'd be buying when I saw the promo shots.  It's not quite neon, but not pastel either.  Still, you'll probably need your shades when you're wearing it because it's bright and vivid but tamer than other neons I have.

I used two coats for the photos here and you can see that it dries to a satiny finish, so I generally apply a topcoat when I wear it.  And since buying Beach Bag, I've repainted my nails three times with it which is huge in the beauty blogging world!  Well, for me anyway!  I chop and change my polish all the time but this is one of those shades that I'll be wearing all through the summer.  Fact.

Models Own do summer polishes that make me happy.  I still love Hedonist and Beach Bag has managed to overtake it, only slightly though, as being the most gorge polish for this summer!

Beach Bag is on counters now and it's the best €7.65 I've spent in ages.  Go get it!


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Darphin CC Cream review, before & after photos

As you know, I've been making my way through all of the BB and CC creams in existence and I think I've found The One.  I know!  Now, I still love my Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream, don't get me wrong, but the Darphin CC Cream is on another level.  It's on another price level too, but let me explain why I think it's worth the investment and why I'll be purchasing it when this press sample is gone.

The packaging is simple and understated and despite the formula looking and feeling a bit thick when I apply it to the back of my hand, it blends effortlessly into the skin.

It has some big claims, but how do they work in real life?

It has light reflecting pearls with Caffeine and Scutellaria to target fine lines and enhance skin's natural glow.  I can't see any improvement in fine lines but I've only been using it a couple of weeks, but the glow.... Oh the glow it gives me is amazing.  So natural, and it's got that glow that oily skinned people like myself crave where we look luminescent, not greasy or sweaty.

Pigments are formulated in different grades to blend perfectly into the skin.  I have the shade Light (there's only that one and Medium available) and it matches my skin perfectly.  I barely have to work it into my skin before it disappears, making it look like I've naturally lovely skin.  My aim in life is for people not to realise I'm wearing foundation, just that my skin looks fab and this gives me that.

It has Sodium Hyaluronate and Trehalose to maintain external hydration and rehydrate skin's surface layers.  It doesn't dry out my skin at all and doesn't cling to any dry patches either.  My skin looks and feels the same at the end of the day as it did at the start.  Happy days.

It contains Laminaria Saccharina to reduce excess sebum.  I can go to work without powdering my face and it's only by home time where my nose starts to look a bit shiny.  It leaves an almost satin finish to the skin and has that balance of glow and matte that I've been looking for for ages!

It has a very respectable SPF35 and protects the skin from UVA and UVB rays.  This is a given for me, especially in the summer and SPF35 is the right amount of protection for my mush over the next few months!

Let's talk about what it's like on me.  A pea sized amount does my face grand for a light to medium finish and on days where I want a bit more coverage on the cheeks and nose, I can apply another thin layer, safe in the knowledge that it won't cake.  A close up shot shows that you can't even see it on my skin!  It just looks like my own face with smooth, even skin.  I'm all about that this summer and it's going to take something major to make me switch from using it.

The Darphin CC cream is the first product in ages that looks almost exactly the same at the end of the day as it did at the start.  As I mentioned earlier, my nose is what usually starts to shine bright like a diamond first, but I get most of the work day shine free.  Also, even though you're not supposed to, I big fat do anyway and that's to apply more on top of what's already on if you're heading out after work.  I do it and ain't nothin' you can do about it!  Sometimes I don't want to remove my base and start again, so my CC cream makes being lazy that much easier!

The Darphin CC Cream is available now for €34 in Space NK and Arnotts.  If you're looking for something that will keep shine at bay all day, give medium coverage, is build able, gives a high SPF of 35, covers redness and just makes it look like you've flawless skin, then this is the one for you.  Obsessed folks.  Obsessed.


Monday, May 26, 2014

5 under €5 - #2

I'm starting the week off with more bargains because it's the last week in the month, payday feels like it's miles away and it's at this point that we need to make our last few euros stretch!  There are lots of cheap and cheerful things to make us happy, so let's get around to the latest instalment of 5 under €5 shall we?

Penneys Scarves - €4

It was a typical Saturday afternoon recently.  I was in town looking like crap in the rain and who did I meet only Rosanne from Like Mam Used To Bake looking absolutely gorgeous as per usual!  As I apologised for the absolute state of me, I noticed her gorgeous scarf and had to ask where she'd gotten it so I could totally copy her.  Cut to me, Mam and Joanne spreading out in Penneys trying to find it, except it was nowhere to be found that day, but I did pick up two other beauts in the meantime.  Joanne found Rosanne's scarf which is the top one in the photo above.  I blahddy love the florally neon-ness of it and have been wearing it all week at work so the other two haven't had a look in yet, but they will!  Penneys, you do deadly scarves for €4 and my wallet, neck and white top thanks you for it.  I'm less poor, warmer and have less spills on my clothes thanks to you.

Rimmel Rita Ora Polishes - €4.99

Rita Ora brought out her own makeup and nail polish range with Rimmel recently and with 12 shades of polishes, there's got to be a shade to fit your mood!  She has really vivid shades mixed with some pale pastel hues and I'm in love with these two in particular.  The bright teal shade, Do Not Disturb is one of those in your face colours that I like to rock during the summer and for those that are fans of the white nail look, White Hot Love has you sorted.  A quick note I must mention is that it's handy to have a white polish in your stash because with all the amazing neon shades that are out, a white base will make those neons stand out even more.  You can thank me later when you burn the retinas off your friends.

Penneys Scrubby Gloves - €1.50

Word on the street is that summer is coming.  I'll believe it when I see it but sure we might as well get our skin prepared so when we do want to flash some flesh, we won't be in a panic.  Something that I always have in my bathroom is these scrubby gloves from Penneys.  I've seen other ones in shops for considerably more cash but they all do the same thing in my experience, so €1.50 is all I need to part with every few months.  If I'm really feeling scrubalicious, I'll pair them with a body scrub, but more often than not, I'll give my arms and legs a quick once over with these using a shower gel.  Soft, smooth skin in a jiffy.

Garnier Express 2 in 1 Eye Makeup Remover - €4.29

Unless you haven't been paying attention or are a new reader, you'll know that I am obsessed with the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water and use it nearly every night to take my makeup off before cleansing my skin properly.  I recently bought a waterproof mascara which I'm in love with, more on that next week, but the Cleansing Water doesn't remove it.  I've stopped using cleansing balms and oils on my eyes just because they're sensitive and I've a tendency to develop a dry patch on one eyelid when I do, so this eye makeup remover is exactly what I needed.  I shake up the biphase solution,  soak two cotton pads with it and then rest the pads on my eyes for about 30 seconds before starting to rub slowly.  It's enriched with arginine which cares for the lashes and that's an added bonus for me because essentially, I want something that works for me and won't leave me with panda eyes in the morning.  It doesn't irritate my eyes like other biphase removers I've used in the past and for that, I'll happily repurchase this when I run out.

Flowers from Aldi - €2.99

One of my favourite non makeup treats to buy myself is flowers and since I do my weekly shop in Aldi, it's a good thing they've got such bargainous flowers for me!  And even better, they last for ages.  These guys you're looking at are over a week old and there's no sign of death and that's me taking care of them all by myself.  And when I say taking care of, I mean just leaving them do to their thing and be in the background of any photos or become props when the right product comes along.  Love them and Aldi, keep 'em coming!

So that's this week's bargains and I have lots more where they came from!  Check out part 1 for five more bargains for under a fiver.  Are there any bits I need to check out?  Leave me a comment!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Kiko nail polish shade 385 Pastel Blue photos, review

Why?  Why did I wait so long to try this polish after buying it last October in Spain?!  I stumbled upon a brand new Kiko shop in Alicante on holidays and was very overwhelemed because a) I didn't know it was there, b) I hadn't researched any of the products so was going in blind and c) I'd Joanne and Mam with me and any beauty junkie knows how difficult it is to have a proper look and swatch with non beauty lovers waiting for you!

I picked up 4 polishes over there but this one just spoke to me instantly and despite waiting 7 months to try it, it was worth waiting for.

Shade 385 Pastel Blue is anything but pastel blue but is also a blue that's really hard to describe.  I'd say it veers close to an electric blue, but is slightly lighter and has a touch of the periwinkle blues about it too.  It's something special and it's safe to say I've nothing like it in my collection.

The formula is fantastic and if I wasn't taking photos for the blog, one coat would have done me just fine.  It's one of the most opaque and in your face polishes I own and I want more.  Their selection in store and online is huge, so I'm in trouble folks.

Dear Kiko, would you be a good child and make your way to Ireland please?

You can buy the nail lacquers on the Kiko website for €2.50 each and I'd advised if you're in an actual Kiko shop, stock up because these polishes are fabulous.  I also bought a couple of metallics and the most perfect tomato red that I might have to show you very soon.

Have you tried Kiko polishes?  What colours do I need next?  I need a coral and a turquoise for sure and that's just to start.  Seriously, it's taken me ages to write this post because I keep googling swatches.  Send help!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Weekly vlog #1 - L'Oreal Colour Trophy fun, Julio Iglesias & sushi lunch!

So Joanne and I are embarking on a new little venture, weekly vlogging!  We're going to give it a go for a while, see how we get on, see how you guys like it and go from there.  We're planning to film between now and the wedding next week but depending on how busy things are, it might go up after the big day.

But for now, sit back, relax and watch me getting my hair did at the L'Oreal Academy, Joanne & Will going to see Julio Iglesias and meeting him and then our Saturday afternoon out when we met the family for a birthday luncheon in one of our favourite restaurants ever, Musashi!

If you like weekly vlogs, then let us know in the comments and we'll keep going.  If we've a special event on, then chances are that will get it's own vlog!


Thomas Sabo Charm Rose Summer review

Love at first whiff, that's what happened between me and Thomas Sabo Charm Rose Summer.  After falling head over heels for Charm Rose Intense last autumn, I couldn't wait to get a sniff of the summer offering from Thomas Sabo.  And it's a beaut.

Now, I'll hold my hands up and say that I was worried (like I was with Charm Rose Intense) that it would be too rose-y and floral and would smell like those days of old when we used to put rose petals in water and call it perfume.  Ooh I wonder if that's where my love affair with perfumes came from actually!

Anyway, I needn't have worried because despite having the word "rose" in the name, Charm Rose Summer is light, fresh and perfect for those days when we have sunshine and blue skies.  On days we don't, it helps us pretend we do, so we just have to spray this on and go to our happy place!

Top notes include peach and a citrus blend of orange, bergamot and mandarin but rather than being sweet, it's almost tangy and puts a pep in one's step.  Once the initial citrusy hit fades, it develops into a mix of florals and herbs which sounds mad but it almost cools down the brightness of the fruits.  The base has notes of cedar wood, musk and sea fragrances which I'll admit, I didn't get until I read the description of the scent.

Oh lads, when I wear this, it lifts my mood and transports me to the seafront in Alicante.  The wind is in my hair, the cobwebs are blown away and I can almost taste the sangria I'll be having at lunch.  I know, I paint quite the picture!

Again, the packaging is superb, housed in the black and white striped box, nestled in the light pink satin surroundings.  It comes with a little rose pendant hooked onto the bottle and speaking of which, the white bottle hints at how light and bright the scent inside is.  It lasts a good 3 hours on me before I want to give myself another hit of summer and once I do, all is well in the world again.

It's exactly the type of scent I lean towards during the summer months and I don't say this lightly, but it's a strong contender for my favourite summer perfume and I'll have to see which one wins between Charm Rose Summer and Narciso Rodriguez Essence Eau De Musc.

€49.50 is the damage and I think I'm going to make my way through this bottle pretty quickly over the coming months!  Check it out at the usual Thomas Sabo locations and transport yourself from rainy Ireland to somewhere sunny!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

New for nails ft Sally Hansen Nail Rehab, Sally Hansen Cuticle Rehab, Bourjois Instant Dry Nail Drops

Yet again, my nails have been neglected and I've decided to renew my mission to help take care of them so I can wear lots of bright summery nail polish.  There are two new products out on the market now to help me look after my nails and another one to help speed things up when I do start wearing polish more often!

First up we have Sally Hansen Nail Rehab (€10.95).  Now, I went through a phase last month where I wore polish all the time, not giving my nails a break at all at all.  So I decided to leave them bare for a week or two, thinking I was doing some good, when in fact, they got worse.  And now that I think of it, my nails didn't look to be in bad shape after all the polish, I was just being nice to them.  And since taking a polish break, I've realised that they're so much weaker, flakier and everything I was trying to stop them from being!  Bloody hell nails, give me a break!  So I've started using the Sally Hansen Nail Rehab which promises to help weak ravaged nails which I totally have.  It can be worn as a base coat or on it's own and I've started off wearing it on it's own, just to see how I get on with it.  On my nails it looks like a glossy clear polish so when I do start wearing polish over it, it won't affect the colour at all.  I've got a good feeling about this folks!

Now, one of my worst habits ever in life is that I always pick at the skin around my cuticles and nails and it's not good.  When I apply oils to my cuticles at work, it does help the skin heal quickly, but I find the oil gets everywhere.  Enter Sally Hansen Cuticle Rehab (€9.95).

This squeezy tube is absolutely perfect for keeping at my desk or in my handbag and the brush applicator is ideal for applying the product just where you want it with no mess or anything.  The formula has vitamin E which helps condition and jasmine and rose extracts to help soothe any inflammation.  It absorbs quickly and doesn't leave any greasy residue and after using it for just a week, I think this is a Holy Grail product.  I know!

Next, on to Bourjois' newest nail offering that isn't a polish!

The Bourjois Instant Dry Nail Drops (€7.99) pretty much do what the bottle says.  One drop of this solution applied to each nail will help your polish dry quicker and not only does it do that, but it helps nourish your cuticles.  I've used it a few times before my whole "we were on a break" with nail polish and it's fantastic stuff.  Now, I wouldn't advise using it if you're watching the telly doing your nails because it can get a bit messy.  When I apply a drop to each nail, it instantly smooths over the nail polish and spreads out all the way over the nails and if you're not careful, it can drip on to whatever your hands are touching.  I give it a few minutes to work it's magic and then rub whatever's left on the nails into the cuticles and voila, dry nails and moisturised cuticles.

So this is what's new in nails here at Lovely Girlie Bits and I can't wait to play with more polishes with my soon to be strong nails, perfect cuticles!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Clinique Lash Power Feathering Mascara review, before & after photos

In the spring, I'm all about appearing fresh faced and wide eyed.  So when the Lash Power Feathering Mascara arrived from Clinique, I knew we were going to get along famously. 

The secret is in the name and this mascara gives me the featheriest (it's a word), flutteriest (yep, word) eyelashes that's perfect for a daytime, natural look.

The brush is soft and is packed full of bristles, you know those bristles that comb through your lashes so that nary a clump is seen?  Those bristles.  The formula is on the thinner and dryer end of the scale meaning you can layer as many coats as you like without the fear of spidery, clumpy lashes.

It has fancy schmancy thermal technology that's resistant to tears (good for Joanne's wedding), rain (good for Ireland in general), pool water (if you're wearing makeup on holidays, off you go), ocean water (if you dip your head into Irish sea, then good luck to you), and humidity (you're talking to a perpetual sweaty Betty come summer), so it sounds like it'll take care of this summer nicely.

I use one coat on both upper and lower lashes and generally head back for a second coat on the upper lashes because you know me.  More is more when it comes to eyelashes and it gives me lifted, fanned out, wispy, fluttery lashes that I've been rocking sans eyeshadow happily.

The Lash Power Feathering Mascara is on counters now and will set you back €23.  And I'm seriously considering it for Joanne's wedding because there will be tears.  Happy tears, but tears out of our eyeballs nonetheless!  This is definitely worth checking out if you love wispy, ladylike, dainty, fluttery lashes.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Pink Avenue brushes review, tutorial & international giveaway!

Ok folks, you know that I'm partial to collecting makeup brushes?  And even though one of my least favourite chores, beauty or otherwise, is cleaning them, it doesn't stop me from wanting to try more.  Makeup artist Rachel Cleary obviously knew this *ahem* and has brought out four makeup brushes for me.  And you.  Ok, not just for me...

I was sent the set to try out and I've been putting them through their paces recently and rather than do a regular review of each brush, I wanted to show them to you in action.

Each brush has the Pink Avenue logo printed onto the black handle and has a silver ferrule.  They look sleek and professional, like myself...
Pink Avenue Blending Brush €9.99 // Pink Avenue Foundation Brush €13.99
Pink Avenue Contour & Blush Brush €12.99 // Pink Avenue Powder Brush €14.99
The Pink Avenue foundation brush was a bit of a surprise actually.  You know I'm all about buffing brushes when it comes to foundation and don't really use flat foundation brushes, but there really is something about this one that tickles my pickle.  I don't know if it's because it's so dense for a flat brush, or because I was able to be super precise with my application of this Gosh CC Cream Iluminating foundation, but these two were a match made in heaven.  Yes, it took a bit longer to apply the foundation with the brush, so it's not something I'd turn to when I'm in a rush in the morning, but for evenings out, this brush gives me a flawless finish to the face.  As for the foundation itself, it's gorgeous.  It gives light to medium coverage, gives a wonderful soft radiance to the skin and gives a natural finish.  I've been loving this lots folks and I think I'll be haring through the bottle this summer.

Next I wanted to test out the Pink Avenue blending brush and see how it held up packing on the makeup.  Now it's not the softest blending brush I've ever used, but it does what it says on the tin and blends cream and powder shadows easily as you'll see below.

  1. I took some of the Max Factor Eyeshadow pencil in shade 05, a lovely bronze shade, and applied it all over my eyelid.  I wanted this to make a nice base for the other shadows.
  2. Taking the blending brush, I softened the only edges of the cream shadow, not touching the eyelid itself.  I took Max Factor's eyeshadows in Ferral Brown and Auburn Envy, applying them on top of the cream shadow using the blending brush again.
  3. I then used Maybelline's Super Stay 24H Waterproof powder in shade 21, Nude to warm up the crease a bit.  It's a slightly darker setting powder than I'd usually use which made it the perfect transition colour in the crease and just softened the edges of the eyeshadow even more.
  4. Step 4 seems to be just me showing off my eyeball.  Oh wait, maybe I took the two powder shadows under the lower lashes too.  Yes, that makes sense.
  5. I took Physician's Formula Kajal Eyeliner in black and took it along the waterline and along the upper lash line.  I'm not a fan of it on the waterline as it didn't give me a dark enough finish even right after applying it, but along the upper lashes, it gave me a nice soft line which was grand because I didn't want it to be too defined for this look.
  6. Definitely showing off my eyeball this time.  I love this look so much and it was all done with the one blending brush!

Next it was time for cheeks and I used the Pink Avenue contour & blush brush to apply some much needed colour to my visage.  I don't really contour on a day to day basis, so this will be my blush brush and it's my favourite out of all four.  It's soft, picks up lots of colour and gives a seamless finish to my blush.  I used it with the Me Me Me Blush Me in Rouge, a pinky coral shade with fine gold shimmer running through it.  I'm a little bit obsessed with this blush and I'm pretty sure it's a close enough dupe for Nars Orgasm!

Powder time!

I used the Maybelline Super Stay 24H Waterproof Power in shade 21, Nude. The Pink Avenue powder brush was perfect for powdering one's schnoz as you can see in the photo below.  It felt nice and soft on my face, did the job at hand and I love it.  This is my second favourite of the four.

I haven't had any shedding with any of the brushes so far and they all wash really well.  I hope Rachel brings out more brushes to add to the set and satisfy the inner collector in me!  They're available to buy online and for a list of selected pharmacies that stock the brand, visit their Facebook page.

Now, on to the good news for you guys!  Pink Avenue have given me a second set for one lucky winner!  To be in with a chance of winning these four brushes, enter your details in the widget below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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