Monday, June 26, 2017

Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look in a Palette - Beauty Glow review, photos, swatches!

Sample/Affiliate links

You know when you look at a product and think "Yeah, see you?  We're going to be very happy together forever and ever amen Ok bye."  The Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look in a Palette in Beauty Glow has fast become my go to palette of choice and not just because it's fancy schmancy.  But because I use it pretty much every single day and nothing else has been getting a look in.  Look at her...  She was so beautiful before I messed her up good and proper...

I know....

Inside we have three eyeshadows, a shimmery champagne shade, an equally shimmery bronzey/rose gold shade and a divine soft matte brown.  That shade has my heart and is the softest, most blendable brown I have in my collection.  No effort is needed to blend it out creating a beautiful smoky eye and I've worn it on it's own, dusted all over the eyelid and blended into the crease.

This is the look I've been wearing the most though, in an effort to put all of the products onto my face!

I always start by applying the matte Eye Smoke shade into the crease and outer corner of my eyelid with a fluffy brush and then blend like a good thing.  Then I take a clean blending brush and soften the edges above the crease so the colour fades perfectly towards the brow bone.  The formula just basically blends itself.  I then take the Eye Brighten and Eye Enhance shades and apply them with a flat eyeshadow brush.  The lighter Brighten shade is gorgeously pigmented but I'd love if the Enhance shade had a bit more colour payoff, but that's just me.  These shadows can be applied wet and dry and applying shimmery shades wet will give more of a metallic finish.  But I just love how soft and diffused the whole eye look is.  It's properly summery goddess vibes.  For the photos above, I applied the face highlight into the inner corner because more is more.

The Face bronze is just as beautiful and soft as the regular Filmstar Bronze & Glow and the same goes for the Face highlight.  Both give the most beautiful soft focus glow to my skin that makes me look filtered!  #NotFilteredOkBye  For the life of me, I couldn't get the Cheek Pop in the peachy shade to show up properly on camera.  In real life, it's a delicate shade that goes on quite sheer but is easily buildable to give a flush of colour to my cheeks and you know me and my peach blushes.  The Cheek Swish shade needs to be used with a delicate hand on me, but again, it's beautiful on.  It's got rose gold undertones to it and can be used as an eyeshadow too.

To be really picky, I'd love the blushes to be bigger.  Or else my blush brushes to be smaller.  I found the blushes went on better with a more tightly packed brush as opposed to a fluffier one and there was less kick back from the powder that way too.

I know it's easy for me to say that I love a palette costing €69 having been given it and I wanted to gather all of my thoughts properly before recommending it.  I absolutely love it lads.  When I went to London recently, it was all I brought because having my eyes and face sorted in one palette made life and travelling that bit easier.  Using the bronzer and highlight as eyeshadows adds even more versatility and makes the justification for purchasing it a bit easier.

I think you can tell from the absolute state of the palette now just how much love and use it's been getting.  And look at the glow on my cheek there!  I'm not able for myself and if you wanted to treat yourself, I can't see you being disappointed with this at all.  It's one of the best palettes I've tried in a long time and I feel bad for the other products that are waiting to be tested out!

It's limited edition and you can buy it in Brown Thomas, in Arnotts or from the Charlotte Tilbury website.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Molton Brown Coastal Cypress & Sea Fennel review!


Today is June 21st, it's the longest day of the year and it's supposed to be hotter than the sun.  I know this to be true because as I type this, I can feel the air thick around me, my hair is growing by the minute in the humidity and my sweaty upper lip is getting ready to shine.  This could well be the peak of the summer, so we need to embrace it and get through it in one piece all at the same time.  I know for an absolute fact of life that I wouldn't get through a day like this without Molton Brown's Coastal Cypress & Sea Fennel.  

On days like this, it's a clean fresh scent or nothing for me.  Florals won't cut it.  Sweet fragrances feel like I'm just asking for trouble and I may as well just send a formal invitation for insects to have a chomp at me.  Give me anything soapy, musky. woody or marine-y and I'm happy out.  And from the setting of the photos you can see that Coastal Cypress & Sea Fennel has definite marine vibes.  It came on holidays with me last month and I carried it around with me so when we were down at the marina, I could give it its own photoshoot amongst the boats and yachts.

With top notes of fig leaves, cardamom and bergamot, a heart of marine notes, jasmine and violet leaf and a base of salted cypress, cedarwood and musks, that's the sciencey informationy bit over.  When I'm trying to do perfume reviews, I try to describe how they make me feel.   So picture this.  You are sweating the diddies off yourself.  It's hot, sticky and even your flowiest top is like a second skin.  You don't look good and you are like a demon.  Now imagine having a gorgeous dip in a pool or the sea which instantly cools you down and changes your life, your body temperature and your mood.  Or you know that feeling when you have a nice cool shower after walking around town in a purple haze of sweat.  You feel refreshed, clean and ready to try and get through the next couple of hours in the mad heat.  That's how this perfume makes me feel.

Now I get fierce sea sickness so won't be in or near a boat anytime soon, but as long as I have this, I can pretend.  I can sit beside the boats like the bottle.  It's a unisex fragrance but isn't too masculine at all, so it could be one to share if you're on holliers.  There's a deodorant too which I haven't tried and a shower gel which I've been trying to ration!

I've harped on a lot about this scent over the last couple of months and this is what happens when I love and wear something all the time.  I knew it was a winner when the girls at work came into the office to ask for a spray.  It's pretty much out of stock everywhere at the moment online, but you might be lucky and find a bottle in the Molton Brown shop on Grafton Street, in Dundrum Town Centre or in Arnotts or Brown Thomas.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to drown myself in this again!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Ultimate Chats! How I get over a blogging funk

In September I'll have been blogging for seven years and while I'm an actual geriatric in terms of my age, I'm also a blogging geriatric too!  I still love doing it with all of my guts and I'd kind of want to because how else would I still spend evenings and weekends working on it, outside of my full time job.

With the evolution of the blogging industry over the last few years, things have changed so much.  Gone are the days of going to work for the day, coming home in the evening and blogging.  Now we have to keep up to date with Instagram, Instastories, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter along with events, launches and the actual blogging itself!  It's a full time job as it is and if you've got an actual full time job like myself, it can all get on top of you.

Over the years I've had my fair share of times where I've lost my blogging mojo and have been in a creative funk.  I know it'll happen again and I know it'll pass.  I've had chats with fellow bloggers who go through the same thing and I thought maybe a post like this might be helpful for anyone who's feeling a bit disillusioned, uninspired and generally a bit meh when it comes to blogging.

When I'm knee deep in a blogging funk, I drive myself demented with thoughts like these:

  • My photos aren't good enough.
  • I feel like I'm too old to keep up with the chung wans.
  • I feel overwhelmed with everything that I need to do.
  • I feel overwhelmed with everything that I want to do.
  • My blog posts aren't informative/funny enough.
  • I'm not blogging enough, I'm not tweeting enough, I'm not filming enough videos, I'm not posting enough on Facebook.
  • I feel like I can't keep up with new releases and samples and feel guilty for not blogging about them.
  • How do I make my posts, photos and videos different to everyone else's?
  • What if a brand isn't happy with a collaboration?
  • I want to expand from beauty but then this won't be a beauty blog anymore and will people read it?
  • Should I be blogging more?  Do people read blogs as much as they did?  Should I post reviews on social media?  Will people be able to find them?
  • My SEO isn't great.
  • Who actually cares what I have to say?

What you mightn't know about me is that I have ridiculous levels of self doubt on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and I'm my own worst enemy.  Even now, I'd love to have five blog posts a week up, but I know it's just not sustainable at the moment.  I have blogger's guilt all the time, so end up getting so overwhelmed with everything that I want to do and end up doing none of it.  It's times like these where it'll be good to have a blog post like this to read over.

"What's the point?"

I hear this so many times from fellow bloggers - "What's the point?"  And that's something that nobody else can answer.  Only you can and each blogger's answer will be different.  What IS the point of blogging for you?  Is it to make money?  Is it to use it to get freelance writing?  Is it to reach a certain number of followers on social media?  Is it to get a certain number of "hits" a day on your blog?  Is it to be able to leave your job and blog full time?  Is it because you want brands to notice you and send you products?  Is it because you love all things beauty and just love writing about it?  Figure out what the point of blogging is for you and take steps to get you where you want to be.  Baby steps are still steps!

When I'm in the midst of a blogging funk, not an uptown funk, I unplug, take a step back and reboot.

I stop putting pressure on myself

With all of the social media platforms out there now, I can't do them all and do them well.  Twitter has fallen by the wayside big time.  Mainly because I think it's a place for chats and I felt guilty not replying to people.  I just don't enjoy it and I'd rather put my time and effort into things that I enjoy.  I'm hoping I'll be able to get back into it, but right now, Instagram, Instagram stories, Snapchat and Facebook take up the majority of my time in terms of interaction.  I can't do it all in 4-5 hours each evening along with blogging itself and when I ease up on myself, it totally helps me be more productive without self imposed extra pressure.  I used to blog 5 days a week, and at one point I posted twice a day!  But that wasn't sustainable.  Now I just try to post quality content as often as I can and while I have things going on in real life behind the scenes, balancing it all is the main focus.

I ignore the negative sh*te

With the increased amount of negativity surrounding bloggers, influencers and general online folk these days, it can be so feckin' noisy.  Last year was the first year I considered giving up blogging completely.  Having lies and crap written about you and your friends online is now sadly part of blogging.  I'm a huge advocate of "If you don't like it, don't watch/read" and I practice what I preach.  I don't read online forums after seeing someone tell lies about me on there and literally no good can come from reading negative stuff like that.  You can't stop people from sending you nasty messages, but you can stop yourself actively seeking out negativity.  We all love a birra gossip don't get me wrong, but things have just reached fever pitch over the last couple of years and it's not for me.  In instances like this, ignorance really and truly is bliss and letting people have the craic themselves and not knowing what's being said is the best thing for my mental health.

I look for inspiration station across the nation

I can't explain how it fills my insides with happiness watching people on Youtube, on Snapchat and reading the blogs of those who love what they do, who make me feel like I can do it too and who inspire me to try harder.  I love looking at gorgeous photos and getting inspired to try out different techniques, or watching Instagram videos to see what I enjoy and don't enjoy watching.  As much as readers of my blog are why I do it, I'm also my own audience and if I'm producing content that I'd like to consume, then that's good enough for me.  Scrolling through my bloglovin feed fills my soul with inspiration and I always come away from it ready to take on the world.

I have a little vent and a rant!

One of my blogging pals Catherine and I have a deal in that we don't take our rants online.  I don't like watching people giving out about things and in the past when I have, I've come away in a bad mood and I don't want to do that to someone and put them in a Pauline Fowler!  I love getting messages about how my snaps or videos put people in a good mood!  So any time I need to let off steam, I message Catherine and she does the same.  A few words of support from someone who gets what you're going through can lighten the load.  We both blog about different things, both work full time and both want to do this for our jobs, so we get it.  If you can find a like minded person that you can vent every now and then to, then you're gold!

I remember why I started

This piece of advice is an absolute gem and despite being told it like five times last year by my friend Amy before it sank in, I still refer to it every week.  I started blogging to distract me from what was going on in my life at that time and because I loved makeup and beauty so much.  And that's absolutely still the case on both parts.

I do this because I love it so much.  Right now, when I upload a video to YouTube, the views are much lower than videos I upload on Facebook, Instagram and even Snapchat.  But I love YouTube!  And you never know what can come out of one person watching that one video that mightn't have gotten many views.  I never started this to be my job and the fact that it's a possibility is insane.  I love telling people about bargains, dupes, disappointing products, I love swatching products, I love creating different looks with them, I love giving myself allergic reactions on my face from all of the things I'm trying out at one time (Ok maybe not so much)!  I hope that my passion for it all shows!

I write sh*t down

One of the best things I did recently was to sit down in the office with no music or distractions and write down my thoughts about blogging.  I wrote down things that I wanted to achieve, milestones that I wanted to hit, blog and video ideas and getting it all out of my head and onto paper was ridiculously helpful.  With each of the 40+ ideas I wrote down, I felt my anxiety about it all slipping away and I wasn't in a panic trying to remember it all.  Stationery is my absolute friend and there's nothing like seeing everything that's in your brain at that moment in time written out on a crisp new page with a fancy pen.

I change it up and try different things

Last year I decided to post memes over on Instagram and they always did really well and not many people I followed were doing it.  Then I saw a load of other bloggers started doing it and while they were great for interaction and likes, I didn't like how my feed looked too much like others.  So I stopped posting the memes, focused on my photography and now I love my feed and nobody will be able to copy it.  I've got more ideas that I'm going to try out, some will work and some won't and that's ok.  For me, it's better to be trying new creative things than doing the same things over and over.  If you're in a rut, try doing something out of your comfort zone.  It might be uploading a video directly to Facebook or Instagram, it might be putting your face in a photo, it might be going to events, but trying something new will either work out great or you'll learn something from it.  I love that saying "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got".

I try to remain patient

I'd love nothing more than to be able to leave my job this minute and create content full time.  But until I get regular paid work, that's not going to happen.  I've had people (strangers on the internet) tell me to just quit my job and go for it, but until free lipsticks can be used to pay my mortgage, I have to stay put for now!  I'd love to be working for myself by the end of the year and am making plans for that to happen.  Gary Vaynerchuk is always telling us to be patient and I really do trust that things will all work out the way they're supposed to and a little extra nudge here and there from me won't hurt eh?!

I try not compare myself to others

This is something that most bloggers will do no matter what they say!  It's so easy to look at how many followers someone has or the opportunities they've gotten gotten and feel deflated, but what I do is flip it around and look at the work they've put in to get to that point.  It completely inspires me when people are kicking ass and it makes me want to work harder, to be more creative and it keeps me on my toes.  This is a whole blog post of it's own, but what I do myself and what I advise fellow bloggers is to put the head down and the blinkers on.  Do you, focus on your work and let them do their own thing.  If their social media accounts are making you feel crap about yourself, don't follow them.

I did a Marie Kondo on my feeds there recently and unfollowed a load of accounts I wasn't interacting with to make room for those that added value to my feed and who inspire me.  We spend so much time online and think about how you feel after scrolling someone's Instagram feed with their stunning photos compared to scrolling through a feed of a person you don't like.  You'll come away wanting to write, take photos and be creative rather than feeling deflated.  Trust me on this one!

Remember this!

For the majority of us, as bloggers, we're a one bridie show.  We take our own photos, we come up with blog ideas, we write the blog posts, we edit the photos, we update all of the social media platforms, we engage with our audience, we try to stand out from the crowd but keep doing our own thing.  Some of us have jobs and some of us have families and we're doing it all.  So be kind to yourself.  Take a step back if you need to.  We'll all still be here when you've recharged the batteries.

I've often been asked about doing blogging workshops, but to be honest, even though I've been doing it as long as I have, I don't know it all.  I don't even pretend to know it all, but I'm always here to answer any questions or queries you have and give any advice I can.

It's only blogging.  We got this.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Lancome matte shakers review, swatches, photos!


Quick, it's summer!  Move quickly because we don't know how long it'll last!  Summery makeup just puts me in great form.  Maybe it's that I love a bronzey eye, some colourful eyeliner, or maybe it's because I love bright lips.  Ok I am equally as terrified of bright lips as I am in love with them, but the Lancome Matte Shakers have stolen my heart and I have big plans for them them over the coming months.

After falling in love with the Juicy Shakers from Lancome last year, I waited patiently for a matte and more pigmented version to come out and here they are in all their glory, poolside on their holidays in Spain last month!

Using the same shakey shakey technique that mixes up the product and moves it from the bottom of the tube into a little well under the applicator, these are a dream to apply.  With the shaken formula being so creamy and pigmented, combined with the cushion applicator, I wondered if I'd be able to get a crisp edge around my lips and sure enough, wingardium leviosa and all that, I was able to without having to use a liner or do any tidying up.

Now, it's worth noting that while these are described as being matte, on me, they've more of a semi-matte finish.  There's a small bit of transfer initially while the light sheen wears off and when that happens, then we're into matte territory.  To remove them, I use an oil based makeup remover which does the job for the most part.  Some of the shades, namely Pink Power, Kiss Me Cherie and Red'y in 5 stained my lips sommat fierce.  I didn't mind that because once I put a lip balm on, I just looked like I'd a normal lip product on.

In the photos below, I've just applied one layer and because they're packed full of pigment, one coat is all that's needed.

Lancome Matte Shaker 272 Energy Peach
Lancome Matte Shaker 270 Beige Vintage
Lancome Matte Shaker 186 Magic Orange
Lancome Matte Shaker 189 Red'y in 5
Lancome Matte Shaker 374 Kiss Me Cherie
Lancome Matte Shaker 379 Yummy Pink
Lancome Matte Shaker 378 Pink Power

When they dry fully matte, they really do stay put for ages and while they don't dry out my lips initially, after a couple of hours I need a lip balm or gloss, just because I've ridiculously dry lips at the best of times.  They don't crack on my lips, flake off or anything, the fade away is nice and even.  My absolute favourites are Magic Orange and Beige Vintage.  I'm obsessed!

They're €22.50, there re seven shades and they're on Lancome counters now!
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