Tuesday, December 29, 2015

My Neewer ring light!

I don't usually do posts like this, on the technical end of the blogging scale, but after posting some snaps (I'm LovelyGirlyBits) about my new ring light, I've gotten a load of questions about it and thought it'd be easier to have a post to direct everyone to which will hopefully answer all of the queries.  Please note that I haven't used it yet to take photos or film with, so this isn't a review.  It's just a "Here's the light I bought and here's where I bought it" post.  I'll update it when I've played with it some more which will be over the next few days, so you'll be seeing lots of photos and videos using it shortly!

I've wanted a ring light for ages and over the five years of blogging, I've also gone through five winters with crappy lighting!  Life is really busy at the moment and I'm not getting a chance to take photos of everything in the evening and the two softboxes I have are too big for my teeny office, so I've been slacking big time on the photograph front over the past few months.  For product swatches, I like to have a cool daylight feel to the photos so that the products are true to colour, so hopefully this will do the job!

As you can see, this was my Christmas present to myself and hopefully we'll be very happy together!

This is the ring light I bought and so far so good!  The brand is Neewer and you can see in the description that they have seven different products under the one listing, so just be careful you select the product you want!  I made sure to order the 18" Dimmable Ring Light.  I wanted to have a bit of control over the amount of light emitted, hence the dimmable-ness.

It's almost half the price of the Walimex right light that Lily Pebbles and Vivianna Does Makeup uses at £85.99 compared to £149.99 which suited me fine as I didn't want to spend that much money, so we'll see if me bargain tendencies work out!

It has a UK plug which is very handy altogether as I understand the Walimex one has a US plug, so not having to have a voltage converter or plug adaptor is a bonus.

The photos above shows the camera attached to the light itself and it's worth noting that it doesn't come with whatever attachment is needed for that.  I'm not too bothered about that as I've my own camera tripod which means I can have the camera either in front of the light or behind it and be able to play with it all until I get a lighting setup that I love.

It doesn't come with a stand, so be sure to order one or else you'll have the ring light and nowhere to put it.  I bought a couple of soft boxes on ebay a few years ago and the ring light fits the stands they came with, so if you have one of those, you don't need to buy a new one.   If you don't have a stand, you'll see that there's a stand for the £15 mark that'll pop up on the "Frequently Bought Together" section of the page.  Anything to make us spend more money eh?

Also note that the light doesn't come with a diffuser, and it's mad bright FYI.  I'm going to mess about with it some more over the next while and see if I need to pick up a diffuser to soften the light if I feel it's too harsh in photos.

So there you have it folks.  If you're a blogger or YouTuber and are looking for a ring light, this is mine!  I'll try to answer any questions you have but as I said earlier, I haven't tried it out properly, so this isn't a recommendation yet, this is a show and tell post!

If you'd like a post on all of the technical things I use for the blog and YouTube, let me know!

*Purchased by moi*

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Irish Beauty Bible - Xpose - The perfect stocking stuffer!

If you're looking for a fantastic stocking stuffer gift for the beauty lover in your life, then look no further than The Irish Beauty Bible brought to you by Xpose!  It's €4.95, is the perfect size to fit in your handbag and is literally jam packed full of beauty tips, tricks and amazing products.

Shameless plug alert!  I'm featured in the magazine along with four other fantastic bloggers and I think this whole experience has been a series of pinch me moments!  I remember driving out to the shoot with Emma and Orla and asking how is this our lives?  It's absolute madness that we're in a magazine and even more mad walking into a shop and saying to myself "I'm in that magazine there!"  And full disclosure, when I found the beauty bible in Easons on O'Connell Street and had that first flick through it, I got a bit emosh because it's pretty cool and weird but mostly cool to see your mush in something that's on shelves!  So yes, I bought two copies, then one more just in case!

Inside the magazine, each of us has a two page spread where we talk about some of our favourite products, give some blogging tips and talk about what it's really like being a beauty blogger!  Of the five of us, Rosie is the only full time blogger and the rest of us work full time and blog as a hobby.  My dream is to blog full time but until the bank starts taking lipstick as payment, I'll continue to work my ass off in my real job to pay my bills and work my ass off blogging to generate income in the hopes that my second job will become my first job.  I've had to turn down a good few things this year because of work, so I need to up my game big time and make it so that I work for myself!

Inside the magazine is Rosie Connolly who is so lovely and that day at the shoot was the first time we'd met, but thanks to Snapchat, I'd felt like I'd known her for years!  We found out we went to the same school, are northsiders through and through and I've loved watching her success explode this year.  It's really refreshing that despite being a proper business woman now, she doesn't take herself seriously at all and is just so down to earth.  We won't even mention the absolute adorable Harry and those cheeks that I need to squeeze just once!  Like any working mum, she struggles with the work/family balance and I love that she shares that with us, and that this is real life!

Regular readers will know that Emma Henderson is one of my oldest blogging friends and we've gotten to do some pretty cool things together!  I loving having blogger chats with her because she gets it and we often say that our normal friends just don't understand the blogging world sometimes, so we vent to each other when we're going through a rough patch!  She's great craic and I love being one of the blogging veterans with her!

Orla Richardson (or Orla from Makeup Over Mind as I call her all the time) is one of my favourite bloggers ever and she alone has caused me to buy so many products I don't need.  We have the best time going makeup shopping together and legitimately have the same experiences every time in that we always have a beauty wish list as long as our arms, we get ridiculously excited going into Space NK, Boots, Brown Thomas, the usual haunts.  We stand with the products we've been waiting to buy for weeks and months and then one of two things happen - either we enable each other and rationalise the completely unnecessary purchase to the point of no return, buy the product and then have buyer's remorse, or we stand there talking ourselves out of of the product, only to go home and be annoyed that we didn't buy it.  Every single time.  Will we ever learn Orla from Makeup Over Mind?!

Finally we have AJ Fitzsimons and while I only met her at the start of this year, I feel like we've been friends for ages!  AJ is one of the most chilled, easy going bloggers I've met in a long time and she knows her stuff.  Not just the beauty stuff, but she knows all things online marketing, social media, SEO, brand management and she inspires me to want to learn more about that aspect of blogging life.  She's a gorgeous bridie and I think we're going to be friends for life!

Finally, I couldn't do a blog post about The Beauty Bible without mentioning one of my favourite people ever, Ellen!  Look how gorge malorge she is!

Ellen is one of those women I want to be when I grow up!  She has it all.  A gorgeous family, an quickly expanding business (Waxperts obvs) and is a really wise, generous and hilarious bridie altogether.  We only met this year and I know I have a friend for life with her (and the rest of the bridies, but that's another blog post altogether!), so if you're thinking about starting up a business and want some real inspiration from someone who has legitimately created her own brand and products, then get the magazine!

I have to thank Aisling Keenan, Deputy Editor of Xpose Magazine for asking me if I wanted to take part in the feature and I'm not going to lie, when I first got the email, I totally had to read it twice to make sure she hadn't emailed me by mistake.  True story!  She helped me with my posing on the day because I just wanted to die of the squirts, as I'm used to being in charge of the camera, of how I look and pose at home and let me tell you this, trying to stand with your phone in your hand, having to have your face turned towards the camera but stay looking at your phone, all while trying to suck your stomach in and hide your double chin damn near killed me that day!  But it was the absolute best day ever and we had such good craic.  It'll take a lot to top that I tell ya!

And while this is sounding like the ultimate Oscar speech, I wanted to thank everyone on Snapchat who sent me photos of the magazine!  I screenshotted (screenshat?) them from pure disbelief that this is my actual life and so let me know if you see your photo in the collages below!

Let me know if you pick up the magazine!  Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to frame a copy to put it on The Wall Of Narcissism!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Inglot Christmas palette 2015 golden eye tutorial and giveaway!

If you've never tried an Inglot eyeshadow yet, we need to have a talk because you're missing out big time!  Not only are they incredibly pigmented, I'm talking a single swipe with your finger will almost scare you, but they're buttery soft, blend easily so even makeup newbies will be able to create some gorgeous looks.

This year Inglot Ireland have created a limited edition 10 shade palette that's exclusive to Ireland based on best selling and gorge malorge shades that everyone will love.  And look at it....

Top Row L - R: 450, 377, 329, 458, 357
Bottom Row L - R: 335, 608, 07, 395, 351
With four shimmery shades, six mattes, a grand selection of neutrals and a trio of intense colours at the end, it's a versatile and easy to use palette.  I've been wearing it lots since it was sent to me and this look has been the one I've used the most (so far).  I wore it to the Bridie Brunch and it stayed put all day.

For this look, I took that fab orange shade, 335, and applied it into the crease with a fluffy blending brush.  I'm obsessed with using this shade as a transition colour and it instantly warms up any look. By the time I finish with the look, you'll hardly see any of that shade but it's just to warm up the crease and make the edges look softer.

Using a more precise brush, I took shade 329, the neutral brown shade, into the crease and in the outer corner to add definition to the eye.  I then took that beautiful shimmery gold shade, 07 and packed it on the upper lid to bring light to the eye and add a bit of festive sparkle!  To complete the look, I applied the orange and brown shades under the lower lashes to mirror the top, applied some mascara and I was good to go!

I'm obsessed with this look and think it's the perfect semi-neutral eye that's calling out for a red lip.  So I'll have to be brave and rock a red kisser this Christmas!

The palette is €75, is on Inglot counters now and is selling like hot cakes, so move quickly if you want to pick one up for someone (or yourself) this Christmas!

Or, if you're feeling lucky, head over to my Instagram page (LovelyGirlyBits) where I'm giving one of these beauts away!  All of the terms and conditions are under the photo of the palette on Instagram and I'll be picking the winner on Christmas Eve!  So good luck!

*PR sample*

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Lovely Girlie Bake-y Bits! Simple Gingerbread Biscuits!

'Tis the season to get baking some Christmas treats and when you have a master baker in the family, you bully him into filming a video for you.  I speak of none other than Will, Joanne's hubby, who found over at his blog The Cook's Belly while snapping up a storm too (ChongWill).

I gave the two of them a brief for the video.  Well, I said "Listen lads, I can't bake for sh*te, you bake something that even a dirty looking eejit like me could do, make it Christmassy and keep the video under 10 minutes".  And they delivered me a fantastic video!  We're talking easy peasy gingerbread biscuits that you can whip up in minutes.  And did you notice how I said "you" because let's call a spade a spade, why would I bake when Will can do it so much better?!

Get your pens and paper ready and make a list of ingredients because you're going to want to make these over Christmas!


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Three palettes from Urban Decay - that's Christmas sorted!

This Christmas, give the gift of beautiful eyeballs.  Ok, eyelids technically.  But still, you know what I mean!  An eyeshadow palette is one of the easiest and best presents to give a makeup lover because there's always something for everyone.  I'm a massive fan of a neutral eye and have more beige and brown shadows than sense, and yet I want more!  And if a palette has a bit of colour in it too, then all the better as I do like to pretend I'm Jaclyn Hill and do an aul pop of colour on the lid or under the lower lashline if I'm feeling wild.

Urban Decay have released three palettes over the second half of 2015 and they're all brilliant.  So if you're a fan of a smoky eye, a neutral eye or like to go wild with some colour, get ready to add one (or all) of these to your Christmas wish list!  Or maybe share this blog post on social media, making sure to tag your chummy and draw their attention to your preferred palette of choice!

It was only a matter of time before Urban Decay added this beaut to the Naked collection and it's an absolute stunner.  With twelve shades broken down into three sections depending on what look you're going for, if you're a fan of the statement eye and nude lip, then this is worth checking out.  The first four shades are the more daytime appropriate shades and are packed full of sparkle, but wearable sparkle mind you.  The middle four shades are the smokiest of the lot and scream sexy sultry eyeballs with their cool toned purples and the final four shades are soft, matte perfection.  Urban Decay always do good mattes and these are creamy, buttery and make life really easy when going for a softer smoky eye.

Fans of colour, sit up and take notice because the Vice 4 palette is packed full of vibrant shades that might scare you at first glance.  But here's the thing with colour, if you're careful, your eyes won't end up looking like one of my Christmas baubles!  By using the matte shades along the left row from top to bottom, particularly that rich orange shade, and that brown shade in the bottom right corner, as transition shades in the crease, blended out seamlessly, you can then apply colour on the lid without looking like a lunatic.  If you're interested in a step by step tutorial showing looks from these palettes, then let me know.  Apart from the second shade in the top row which is a bit watery and a let down, the rest of the shadows are highly pigmented, are really easy to use and pack a serious punch in the colour payoff department!

I nearly lost my life when I heard Gwen was teaming up with Urban Decay and holy moly this palette is all kinds of beautiful.  It's got a balanced mix of mattes, shimmers, neutrals and colours and that black shade on the bottom right is as black as my soul!  Ah not really, my soul is more the colour of that electric blue shade that gives me palpitations it's so gorgeous!

I remember seeing the palette up close online and thought that the shades might be a bit too similar, but if you have eyeballs that function, you'll see that each shade is completely different, is a perfect fit for the palette and serves a function.  While I can't see myself wearing the pink colour on my eyes, a little dab of it as a blush/highlight combo might look nice and I know I can make that yellow gold work something fierce on me!

I've used the palette a few times now and love working the soft matte shades into the crease, blending them out and then adding a shimmery number to my lid, helping me to look alive and put together.

So you have no excuse!  Feel free to send photos of any of these palettes to your loved ones, add them to your wish list, email them the link to this blog post and we'll call it a day!

You can get these palettes on the Debenhams website or in Debenhams now, and I'd be willing to put money on them going out of stock as Christmas day approaches, so move fast!  And if you do find one of these under your tree, make sure to tag me in your Instagrams or Snap me so I can be proud in the knowledge that you will have only gorgeous eyeballs this Christmas!

Which one of these palettes tickles your pickle?

*PR sample*

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Lovely Girlie Bits 2015 Christmas Gift Guide - Stocking Stuffers under €20!

I have to admit, I love picking up bits and pieces to add to presents at Christmas time.  Yes, I may well end up spending just as much money on stocking stuffers as I do on bigger presents, but that's just because there's so much great stuff out there!

We decided to mix it up a bit in this video and highlight a range of products from books to stationary, body care to jewellery and extra bits in between!  So if you're looking to bulk out some presents this year, or are looking for a Secret Santa gift, then look no further.  Lovely Girlie Bits has got you covered!

Products mentioned:

3. Penneys necklaces - €6 - €8

6. Penneys 3 in 1 Lens Set - €8


Monday, December 7, 2015

The Lovely Girlie Bits 2015 Christmas Gift Guide - Luxury edition!

With only a couple of weeks left until Christmas, I thought it was high time to get stuck into our gift guides and like the past couple of years, we've filmed three videos!  We had to start things off with a bit of luxury and have eleven fabulous products that are ready to go to the top of your wish list!

We've got some beauty, haircare, makeup tools, electronics and jewellery to switch things up a bit and keep it interesting.  But I'll be going through more beauty product gift ideas over on Snapchat (LovelyGirlyBits) so make sure to follow me there so you don't miss out!

We've linked all of the products mentioned below, so watch the video and happy shopping!

Products mentioned:

6. Kate Spade wallet - About €80 Kildare Village Outlet


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Charlotte Tilbury Magic foundation review, before & after photos!

Put the word "magic" in the name of a product and I'll give it a go.  The Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation is one of the most expensive foundations I've tried so far and at €40, it'd want to be on the Harry Potter end of the magical scale.  Wingardium leviosa and all that!

This foundation has mad claims, promising to work for all skin tones, skin types and ages.  It claims to minimise oil production after 9 weeks, helps reduce over production of melanocytes which causes pigmentation, smooths the appearance of wrinkles in one hour and that's only half of the claims.  I had to pick the wildest ones or we'd be here for the day.  Now I haven't been using it for 9 weeks yet so can't comment on the oil production aspect and I don't have problems with pigmentation.  The wrinkles thing I'm not sure of as I find that it can settle in the laugh lines around my mouth sometimes.

The packaging is pure luxury with it's art deco inspired bottle.  The bottle itself is glass, so it's not travel friendly but sure we won't hold that against it.  It's what's inside that really counts isn't it?

The Magic Foundation really does have supernatural powers in that it evens out my complexion effortlessly, covering the redness on my nose and cheeks in seconds.  Despite it's thick texture, it feels nice and lightweight on the skin, doesn't cake and is easily buildable.

Let me talk about application for a second.  There's a Magic Complexion Brush that's touted to work perfectly with it, but as I've more makeup brushes than sense at the moment, I thought I'd make do with what I have at home.  The first time I used the foundation, I applied it with my damp Beauty Blender and the finish was perfection.  The next time I tried a buffing brush and I found that it didn't sit as well on my skin and didn't blend in as easily.  And it was then that I realised it reminded me of Estee Lauder's Double Wear in terms of texture and finish.  So like Double Wear, once I apply it with my Beauty Blender, I get this finish:

It leaves my skin with a slight sheen when I've finished faffing about with it, but doesn't feel wet or tacky when on.  I absolutely love the glow it gives me, yet is dry to the touch.  There are fifteen shades in the range and I'm using shade 4 in the photos today.  I could've gotten away with a 3 or 3.5 too and find that because my neck is so pale, I generally have to blend all foundations down the aul neck.

This lasts all day on me and that's without powdering.  When I say all day, I always mean the work day as we know I love getting into lounge wear as soon as I get home!  If I'm heading out right after work, I apply it and then use my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder over my t-zone just to make sure it stays in place and it does.

Other makeup goes on seamlessly over the top and in the photo below, I thought it was high time to bring out my Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow for the craic.  It's a contour and highlight duo that I reach for in the colder months and love the soft focus finish it gives me.

No other foundation has gotten a look in since I bought this a few weeks ago.  And at €40, this fact alone justifies my purchase!  If you've skin on the dry side, I'd give it a miss and try the Light Wonder foundation instead, or try to get a sample and apply it using a beauty blender to see how you get on.  Those with normal to oily skin, check it out.

What have I started?  Now I want to try Charlotte's Airbrush Flawless Finish powder....  And a blush.... And some of the matte lipsticks... As a true lover of her eyeshadow palettes and with two in my collection (so far), I'm a full blown Charlotte Tilbury lover!

What do I need to try next?

*Purchased by moi*

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

November favourites!

November seemed to come and go in an absolute blur!  I was so busy at work and then the Bridie Brunch kept me nice and busy after work, but I still managed to play with lots of products!  I'm obviously still recovering from the exhaustion of getting through November in one piece as you can see from me holding the Urban Decay Vice 4 palette upside down for the screenshot.  Nice one me.

I'm already looking forward to filming my best of 2015 videos next month, so there'll be no December 2015 favourites video, so I hope you enjoy the last one of the year!  I absolutely love filming these videos and hope to continue to film them with Joanne next year as we always have great craic doing them.  This weekend was a bit of a mad one so I'm going it alone, but am so excited to tell you about all of the things I've loved in November!

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