Monday, 30 December 2013

December Favourites.

The end of 2013 is now upon us. I love this time of year! To new beginnings! Surprisingly, I don't have too many favourites this month but I am sharing with you what I do have.

First up is Pretty Quik Instant nail polish remover. I used to have this product or similar years and years ago and recently it seems to have become popular again. Inside the tub, there is foam which is soaked in nail varnish remover. You simply insert your finger, twist it around and when you take it out - clean nails! I think it's rather nifty and especially good for traveling so it has made its way into my December favourites.

During this last month, Origins counters were giving body moisturisers away for free with all purchases over €50. I have acquired three... oops! I love this Origins Ginger Souffle whipped body cream. I never even knew that I liked the smell of ginger but this is gorgeous.  It smells so zingy and fresh. It also leaves my skin feeling really smooth and silky. Pretty happy to have more than one now!

Chanel Vitalumere Aqua foundation. I re-purchased this foundation in the last few weeks (using my Boots points, woohoo!) and I am so happy to have it back. The most wonderful application and just the coverage I need - light to medium. Chanel counters are good (in my experience) at providing samples so I advise anybody in the market for a foundation to check this out.

My favourite nail varnish from the last four weeks has got be Rapid Ruby, by Rimmel. Although this stained my nails quite badly, the colour is absolutely beautiful. It was perfect for the season and affordable too. I enjoyed wearing it.

Finally, something I have just ran out of - La Roche Posay Toleraine Riche. I love this facial mosituriser for winter, nothing else works as well for me. On the downside, the tube only lasts me for three to four weeks but I would happily buy it over and over again. It is perfect for my combination, but recently more dry, skin. It is quite heavy in consistency but it sinks into my skin very easily. It is also unscented, which I adore. Now to stock up again!

Happy New Year to everybody! I hope that 2014 treats you all well!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

NOTD: Accessoire by Chanel.

I have always wanted to try some nail varnish by Chanel so I was really excited to find three shades in my Christmas stocking this year. Thank you, Santa! Immediately I was drawn to Accessoire which is a deep red-brown colour. I love the richness of it and I think it will definitely be a staple in my collection because I feel like it can be worn with anything. As you can see from my above picture, it is very glossy. I am going to try it with a matte top-coat sometime because I think that could look quite good.

Let me be honest here... I am not particularly impressed by the formulation. Chanel is a high-end brand. I was expecting great things. Frankly, the application was difficult. It takes a bit of effort to achieve a smooth, even layer of colour on the nail. I find that the polish is a little streaky and the brush is just so small! I really like nail varnishes that have those big brushes which pretty much cover the entire nail in one stroke. This, therefore, was lacking for me.

Don't get me wrong - I am really happy to have this and I think I will use it a lot but in my opinion, Chanel could have a much better nail product collection. I love love love the colour so I do rate this highly but there are high-street brands producing nail polish on par (and better) than this.

I used two coats and as always, Sally Hansen Insta-Dri was my top-coat of choice.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

What I Got For Christmas 2013.

I have been MIA for the past few days because of course, it was Christmas, but aside from that I have been rather unwell with a cough and generally feeling under the weather. I am back now and I am going to share with you some of the gifts I was lucky enough to receive this year. I love reading these kind of posts so I hope that you enjoy mine.

First up, by far the most expensive present I have ever been given and I can't believe that I have been so spoiled - a Mulberry Bayswater.

This bag, in my opinion, is gorgeous. I really like classic bags - ones that can be used for a super long time, which easily convert from a day bag to a night bag and can be worn with a multitude of outfits. I feel that this perfectly fits the bill. I haven't been able to stop looking at it.

My bag has gold hardware, as you can see above, and what I really like is its simplicity. It isn't overly branded. In fact, it is very discreet. The leather feels supple and the size of the bag is just ideal - it is a big bag but not so big that you end up lugging around half of your house and the kitchen sink. I am definitely going to write up a "What's In My Bag" post soon.

Secondly, and believe me, after getting a Mulberry bag, I was shocked that there was anything else for me, I got a Matthew Williamson watch. I actually featured this watch in my 'December Wish-List'. I screamed when I opened the box. It alone would have been more than enough for me!

It is a limited edition rose gold watch with a pink face and diamante detailing. I am not usually a fan of watches with colour and overall, I do prefer investment pieces to be plainer whereby they can go with everything but I was immediately drawn to this one. This particular watch is sold only in H Samuel, if anybody is interested.

Santa was also good enough to fill my stocking with some of the most amazing surprises! He certainly pays attention to the things I love! I was delighted to find a Naked 3 palette amongst my pressies.

This palette is beautiful. I have both the original Naked palette and Naked 2 and I think that so far, this is my favourite. I adore rose gold anyway so it is right up my street. Well worth investing in.

This box from Origins was jam-packed with goodies. I love Origins skin-care so what a joy! In here there is a mini Checks and Balances (my favourite face wash), along with a full sized version, a full sized Modern Friction (the best exfoliater ever!), Eye Puffery cooling eye gel, Night-A-Mins night cream, Mega Mushroom Skin Relief, United State toner and a Ginger Rush body cream. So excited to use all of these and you will more than likely see me mention them again in future blog posts.


Finally, Santa made a stop at the Chanel counter. I couldn't believe it when I saw the cutest little black and white box in my Christmas stocking and I had no idea what was inside. I could not have done a better job picking the contents myself!

Three nail varnishes! What more could I have wished for! The packaging of Chanel products alone makes me happy... Don't they look so perfect! I got the shades Accesssoire, Mysterious and Rouge Rubis. Expect to see them on my nails very soon!

My brother bought me a wallet by Kate Spade. I had one already which I picked up myself at a Kate Spade outlet in the States but it was very big and clunky so he got me a smaller, sleeker one which I like a lot. I am thinking of selling the first one in a blog sale.

My new wallet is pink on the outside and blue on the inside, as pictured. I like to have a brightly coloured wallet so that it is easy to find in my bag! This style essentially just holds cards as it is very slim but that suits me down to the ground. I pay for everything with my Visa debit and I am the wrong person to ask if you need change because I never have any!

That ends my Christmas loot. If you have a post or video of what you have received, please link me below! I would love to read or watch! I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and best wishes for 2014.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Review: Cloud 10 Beauty.

I placed my first ever order on last Friday night, or Saturday morning to be correct as it was after midnight, and I have to write a review because I am SO impressed. I had looked at the website a lot in the past but for some reason, never ordered, and let me tell you - I am kicking myself right now!

Cloud 10 Beauty are in fact an Irish company and they make it easier for us Irish ladies to get our mitts on some brands which are more difficult to source here - Sleek (though now stocked in Boots), REN, NUXE etc. They also sell Real Techniques brushes which are often out of stock in stores. There is seriously something for everybody on the website! They had some great stocking fillers and gift ideas this Christmas also, so if you are in need of a present for a beauty junkie, I recommend checking them out.

Other aspects I love - the Beauty Points System and when you place an order, you are given the opportunity to choose free samples. For example, I got a free travel-sized Sigma brush and a REN cleansing gel.

The best bit: the fastest delivery I have ever experienced, seriously EVER! As I said, I ordered on a Friday night into Saturday morning. My package was with me on Tuesday morning, i.e. on Christmas Eve. Despite it being such a busy time of year, they packaged and despatched my products in just a couple of days. I was thrilled.

Cloud 10 Beauty: 10/10.

Monday, 23 December 2013

NOTD: Fallen Leaf by Topshop.

I have no idea why, but this nail varnish by Topshop in the shade Fallen Leaf is one of my favourites of all time. These polishes retail at €8 which I have no problem with as they are good quality. I am a lover of higher end nail products but I own approximately ten colours from this range and they are close rivals to others in my collection.

I applied two coats to achieve the above finish and, as always, I used Sally Hansen Insta-Dri as a top-coat. Topshop nail varnish paints on very smoothly and I find that it lasts really well. It is highly recommended by me. Gotta admit - I love the polka dot lid too! 

On a side-note, I have experienced awful staining from my previous colour - Rapid Ruby by Rimmel so around my cuticles is not looking the greatest as I did some pretty hardcore scrubbing... Oops!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Irish Beauty Blogger Secret Santa Reveal.

#irishbbloggersSS is the twitter hash-tag for Secret Santa where gifts were exchanged between Irish bloggers. Being so new on the scene (my blog is just about two months old), I was super nervous about putting myself forward for this, but I really wanted to join in and I thought it would be fun to buy for somebody with similar interests to myself.

This Secret Santa was organised by Aisling from Total Make Up Addict and I want to extend a massive thank you to her. She was really lovely to me when we were e-mailing back and forth and I automatically felt welcomed by her and accepted into the world of Irish blogging. It meant a lot to me. Aisling - thank you SO much!

I was beyond excited when my present arrived and it took A LOT of self restraint not to open it until today. Upon opening it, I found lots of individually wrapped treats, from Vicki at Happy Bubble Gal. I've been writing this post for hours actually, because I've been so distracted reading her blog so do go check it out. She is a girl after my own heart with lots of nail varnish related posts. She also has really motivational weight loss posts which I found inspirational. Vicki, thank you! I love everything you sent!

Without further ado, here it is...

Vicki sent me the prettiest notebook and compact mirror which are going straight into my bag. I always wanted to be one of those people who takes notes and writes things down and now that I have such a cute place to do so, no excuses! The mirror is simply adorable.

It says, "Some people dream of having a big swimming pool, with me, it's closets". So true!

I also received a yummy chocolate scented lip-balm (mmm!) and Hand Food by Soap & Glory - the best hand-cream ever! I was delighted to receive it as it is one of my favourite products. The Christmas socks are just so cute. They have grips on the bottom and I don't know why, but to me that is so cool! I am wearing a pair right now and I'm happy to report that they are very cosy!

As a nail polish addict, finding this glittery offering from Rimmel was great. I had been saying to my friends that I was going to pick up a glittery nail varnish for over Christmas so it's like Vicki read my mind! It is Ruby Crush. I like that the glitter particles are silver, adds interest instead of just being red. I literally painted my nails right before I opened this parcel but I am for sure going to do a post on this really soon!

Again Vicki, THANK YOU! I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas and the greatest 2014! I will be reading all of your blog posts! To all the other amazing Irish bloggers, it has been a pleasure to read your blogs and to talk with some of you guys on Twitter. I look forward to more of the same in 2014. Christmas wishes to everybody!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Everyday Eye Shadow.

Naked Palette 1
MAC Woodwinked
Maybelline 24 Hour Colour Tattoo - On and On Bronze
Maybelline 24 Hour Colour Tattoo - Tough as Taupe
NARS And God Created The Woman palette
MAC 239 brush
MAC 217 brush
ELF blending brush

Firstly, excuse the photograph. There is no light anywhere! I am actually thinking of investing in a light to help improve my picture quality. Does anybody have any recommendations? Preferably not overly expensive!

I like my neutral eye colours as you may be able to tell! The Naked Palette 1 is possibly my most loved make up item ever. I have hit pan on a few of these eye shadows - Sin, Naked and Buck. I do love them all but I use Sin so often as a highlight and in the past, I have used Buck to fill in my eyebrows as well. Naked is simply a great all over the lid colour. 

Woodwinked by MAC is a pretty bronze colour and I like to add it in to a smokey eye sometimes, for interest. I am definitely glad that I invested in it.

I have so many of Maybelline's 24 Hour Colour Tattoo's but On and On Bronze and Tough as Taupe are the best of the lot for me. They apply like a dream, do not crease and blend so beautifully. They look just as good on their own as they do with other colours applied over the top. They are also super affordable!

Lastly, NARS And God Created The Woman. I love this. It is so perfect for traveling because it is small and compact. It has the most wonderful mixture of light and dark shades, both matte and shimmery. If I was to create an ideal palette for myself, this would be it! 

Brush wise, I like MAC's 239 and their 217 is the greatest thing in the world! The blending brush by ELF is also pretty decent too, especially considering it costs next to nothing! 

Let me know if you have any unmissable neutrals! I would love to check them out!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Sarah Loves: Contour & Highlight Edition.

Sometimes I don't feel like wearing any blush at all, and I lean towards a contour and a highlight instead. I think it can look pretty great, especially if I'm wearing a bold lip shade and don't want to have too much colour on my face. Below are my favourite products to use in this instance.

NARS Illuminator in Orgasm
Sleek Face Form in Medium
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle
NARS bronzer in Laguna
Real Techniques contour brush (yellow)
Real Techniques blush brush (pink)

NARS Laguna (left)
Sleek Face Form kit in Medium (right)

NARS Laguna is a matte bronzer which I think is perfect for people who are relatively pale-skinned like myself. It doesn't look orange at all and is really buildable, so it can look quite natural or you can add as much as you like to achieve the desired effect. I know it is a super hyped product but I do think it's worth it. 

The Sleek Face Form kit in Medium is a really affordable palette - great for both contouring and highlighting. I find the contour powder on the left is too dark for me right now so I have only been using the bronzer on the right but I think come summer, when I maybe have a tan, I can try the darker shade. The quality is wonderful considering its price in comparison to NARS so if you are looking for somewhere to start your collection, I thoroughly endorse this.

Laguna on left, Sleek shades on right

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle
NARS Illuminator in Orgasm

I absolutely adore the glow and sheen that both of these leave on my skin, in particular MAC. I find the NARS Illuminator more suitable for night-time as it is very obvious, even if you only use the teeniest amount. I use them both on my cheekbones and along my brow bone and people have often asked what I use. I think that this MAC Skinfinish photographs beautifully as well. 

MAC Skinfinish on left, NARS Illuminator on right

As you can see from the picture above, the NARS highlight is extremely blatant and I really did just use a dot here. For that reason, I don't wear it day to day but it is gorgeous. I sometimes use it on my collarbones if I'm going out or down the front of my legs. It's great for around this time of year too - the season of glitter and sparkle!

That summarises what I reach for from my make up collection when I want to contour, bronze and highlight. What do you guys use? I would love to know!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

NOTD: Rapid Ruby by Rimmel.

As you may have noticed from my past NOTD posts, I have been quickly acquiring a season appropriate nail varnish collection. A recent addition is this pretty polish - Rapid Ruby by Rimmel. It is a deep, rich burgundy red colour and I think it is the perfect Christmas shade.

Application wise, I love the brush! I would honestly buy these Rimmel 60 Seconds nail varnishes for the applicator alone. One stroke pretty much covers my nail and evenly dispenses the colour. I wish every nail varnish had this brush. I do find the consistency slightly too thick but that is my only criticism and it's not so bad that I would be discouraged from purchasing more from the line.

As always, I have applied two coats and topped with Insta-Dri by Sally Hansen. The colour does look fine after one coat however.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Empties #2.

Cutex Ultra Cleansing nail varnish remover. I have been using this particular bottle for months. I tend to only remove nail varnish once a week and it doesn't take a lot of this to do its job. It is not overly expensive so I more than likely will buy it again. As far as its 'Ultra Cleansing' claim goes, well I don't find it in any way different from other removers I've tried in the past.

A foundation favourite of mine - MAC Studio Fix Fluid in the shade NW20. I know that a lot of people say that MAC foundations are over-hyped and not worth it but I genuinely love this and feel like I will always go back to it. The colour match is perfect for my skin which is really important but aside from that, I love the consistency and the application. I find it long-lasting and great for combination skin.

Garnier Pure Active Charcoal facial scrub is a scrub which contains charcoal beads. These supposedly burst on application and work to remove impurities from the skin. I have an interest in charcoal based skincare as I am a lover of the Origins Clear Improvement mask so I picked this up to use in the shower when I saw it. (Garnier was also on 3 for 2 at Boots at the time!). It is a clear gel and the beads are suspended in it. I found it fine for every day use and extremely gentle considering it is a scrub. I probably will not buy it again as it didn't amaze me but it is good if you're in need of an affordable exfoliant.

Flake Away body scrub by Soap and Glory is one of those products that I always like to have in my shower. I have a travel sized here because I wanted to take it with me on a weekend way but I do have a full-sized version also. It smells delicious and it is quite thick and grainy. I like its texture, especially for my legs, but I think if you have particularly sensitive skin, you should be careful with this. I will buy it again and again.

The blogger loved concealer - Collection Lasting Perfection. I really do believe that this is a product that deserves the amount of praise it gets. It is so creamy and blendable and can be used on both blemishes and under the eye. It is super cheap but still has a decent colour range. I have given up trying other concealers because I love this one so much.

Origins Checks and Balances. Again, a travel sized version. I acquired this as part of a gift set but have since purchased it in full size. It is wonderful for my combination skin, somehow managing to be harsh enough on my oily forehead but yet gentle on my drier areas. It smells like mint so I adore it in my morning shower - wakes me right up!

I used MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural as a setting powder for a few months before it ran out. I was impressed with how long it lasted for but overall I didn't find it astonishing. Rimmel powders do the exact same job as far as I am concerned so I will be saving my pennies in the future. That said, I am glad I tried it out.

Finally, a product which does not look very empty - Revlon Photoready primer. I mentioned this in my Disappointing Products blog post here. The pump is so bad that I can no longer get any of this out of the bottle. Therefore, I paid full price for a primer but only about half of it dispensed. As a primer itself, it was nothing out of the ordinary. I'm hoping I was just unlucky with the bottle I chose, but if not, very poor from Revlon.

If you are here, be sure to enter my Real Techniques Core Collection giveaway - CLICK! Hope everybody has a wonderful weekend!

Friday, 13 December 2013

High End Versus High Street: Face Masks.

Super Facialist by Una Brennan, Rose Hydrate Intense Moisture Mask
Origins Drink Up 10 Minute Mask

I have skin which, in the winter, can become rather dehydrated. Therefore, I really like to use moisture masks and I find them very beneficial. They give my skin that much needed moisture surge. Here I am comparing two - Rose Hydrate Intense Moisture Mask by Una Brennan and Drink Up 10 Minute Mask by Origins. Regular readers or friends will know that I am obsessed with Origins Drink Up Overnight Mask but I wanted to review masks which only need to be worn for a matter of minutes. 

First up, price. Let's be honest - it is important! Rose Hydrate Intense Moisture Mask (125ml) retails for €10.99 while Drink Up (100ml) is €29. Right away you can see that you are getting less product for a substantial amount more money if you opt for Origins. That doesn't immediately discourage me though.

Personally, I don't find rose scent appealing in general. For this reason, I lean toward liking the mask by Origins more despite the price - no smell. Overall I prefer my skincare if it isn't heavily scented.

Texture wise, Origins Drink Up is creamier in texture. I find that it is easier to smooth over the skin. It feels lighter compared to Rose Hydrate also. For reference, above Rose Hydrate is on the left and Drink Up is on the right. They are both good masks in terms of what they do, i.e. providing moisture quickly but I feel that Origins Drink Up is better.

You can probably see above, that when you start to spread Rose Hydrate (left), it disappears into a thin film, whereas Drink Up doesn't. I do think that Rose Hydrate is a good mask and I am glad that I picked it up but I love Origins and I don't think I'm being biased here, I simply prefer Drink Up.

I am glad that I have both of these masks in my collection. I thoroughly recommend them. Origins Drink Up is more moisturising, in my opinion, but the two of them do as they claim to. Therefore, I can say with confidence both are worth trying but when it comes down to repurchasing, I will be going with Origins offering.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Review: Benefit Stay Flawless Primer.

I can admit it - pretty packaging is sometimes enough to convince me to buy a product and the polka dot pattern along with the black, white and pink colour scheme really did lure me in here.

I was in need of a new primer having had a recent disaster with a Revlon one which I picked up on a whim after my Laura Mercier ran out. Two weeks ago, whilst traveling between Ireland and the UK on the ferry, I was bored (and a little queasy!) so I decided to browse the duty-free. This product caught my eye and I immediately justified my instant, "Oooh, that's pretty!" reaction by thinking, "Well, I actually do need a new primer.".

I paid £25/€29.70 for this but I believe that it retails for a whopping €35.50 in Ireland. Let me launch right in to this review by saying I would absolutely, not in a million years, pay over thirty euro for this primer. It is not that there is anything wrong with the product - the application is smooth and somewhat creamy. However, there is nothing so right about this that makes its extortionate price worth it.

15 hour primer? I highly doubt it. It is nice and it feels good on the skin but I still find that I need to do a make up touch up during the day.

My main issue with this Benefit primer is that after only fourteen days of use, there is not very much left at all. The above demonstrates the remaining product - probably enough for another two or three weeks. I wouldn't say that I use a large amount of it each day so I do find this aspect incredibly disappointing. 

Overall, the Benefit Stay Flawless 15 Hour Primer is fine, but ridiculously over-priced and not one which I will ever buy again. It is a shame because it looks so cute in my make up bag!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

December Wish-List.

I would like all of the above. Being December, and coming up to Christmas, I can't really afford to treat myself but I'm hoping to find some way of being able to pick up one... or two... or a few of these.

This Matthew Williamson rose gold watch is limited edition. I think it is so beautiful. I do already have a white and rose gold watch by Michael Kors and I wear it a lot but this pink face just draws me in. It is available for purchase here and it is currently reduced from £349 to £261/€312*. Maybe Santa will be extra nice to me this year, but if not I'll continue to drool over it online.

I didn't jump on-board the Topshop Mom jeans bandwagon, but I have to say, something about these River Island ones appeals to me. They are only £40/€48* when bought online. I love the fact that they come with a belt and I like the laid-back, slouchy look of them - very 'I just rolled out of bed'. I'd probably buy them a size bigger to really get the boyfriend jeans vibe.

Origins Checks and Balances face wash. I have been using a small sized version of this every morning in the shower and it has just ran out. It is one of the first face washes I have ever really felt like re-purchasing and I think it is down to its menthol scent. I find it super refreshing to wake up to.

I have been on the lookout for a plain black leather jacket that is affordable for quite a while now. I have a Topshop leather jacket already which has stud detailing but I'm not really loving studded items anymore. This is another Topshop beauty and is currently on sale here for only £45/€54*. The collar is detachable which I really adore and I feel like it would be a good addition to my wardrobe - easy to pop on over a multitude of things.

The Naked Palette 3, do I need to say anymore? I more than likely will get out of bed early on the morning that this is released to make sure that it doesn't sell out before I have the opportunity to get my hands on it. The original Naked Palette is quite possibly my most loved make up product ever and I'm a big fan of rose gold in general so I simply have got to have this.

Finally, bumble and bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish hair-spray. As I've mentioned before, I have very fine, limp hair. I am always trying out different volumising sprays and this is next on my list. Supposedly this is the holy grail so I need to invest so that my current trials and tribulations can end.

* denotes that price is the equivalent of currency on website. Items may cost more if bought in store.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

NOTD: Power Clutch by Essie.

What I am currently sporting on my nails as of this evening - Power Clutch by Essie. Honestly, I am finding it pretty difficult deviating away from my favourite spring/summer nail colours of mint greens and coral brights but this is a nice compromise for me. It is dark and wintery but as it is a grey-green shade, it gives a subtle nod to what I usually love.

I applied two coats of this polish and that is what I would recommend. I didn't feel it looked at its best after one coat. As always with Essie, I had no issue with the formulation. I found it smooth to work with and fast to dry. I topped this with Insta-Dri by Sally Hansen for shine and hope to wear it for at least five days. I tend not to have major problems with chipping.

Leave me your season appropriate nail varnish favourites, please! I need to add some more to my collection.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Beauty Bargains under €15.

I think everybody loves it when they find a 'must-have' beauty product and it is a bargainous price too. The above are my some of my favourites.

Rimmel Clear Complexion translucent powder is the only powder I invest in these days. I have tried pressed powders from so many brands, including NARS and MAC, and for me, nothing compares to Rimmel. I have an oily t-zone so I rely on a pressed powder to keep my foundation in place and to stop the dreaded shine. This does exactly that, lasts for ages and all for only €5.95.

I think Carmex is the greatest lip product, ever. I mean it when I say that I have a problem with this stuff. It is everywhere! I have a tube in my bag, in my car, on my desk at work. This isn't a love affair, it's an addiction. If you would like to join me, you can for only €3.99!

I admit it - sometimes when it comes to eye make-up I am a little bit lazy. Blending, shading... I just want to roll out of bed and look good! Maybelline 24 Hour Color Tattoo is the answer to my prayers. I own quite a few of these but Bad to the Bronze (I believe it is On and On Bronze in the US) is my favourite. I apply this with my finger. It takes only a moment and it looks like I have made so much more effort than I have in reality. Thoroughly recommended. €5.96 - what more could you ask for!?

The concealer that everybody loves - Lasting Perfection by Collection. I generally wear the shade Light 2 but I have also picked this up in Light 1 and Medium 3, why not when it is only €6.49! Wonderful coverage, creamy and still perfectly blendable. I don't even consider trying anything else!

Volumizer mascara by Bourjois is a two step mascara that does just what the name suggests - volumises! It is €13.99 so somewhat more expensive that other products I have mentioned, however it is a mascara so that is forgivable as they are always quite dear. I know that this is one of those love/hate items. Some people find it makes their lashes look clumpy, but I can't get enough of it. If you want big, black, dramatic lashes - check it out!

Want to spend the best €9.99 you ever will? Simply go to Boots and buy the Sleek Brow Kit! I use the shade Dark and it really is. I have black eyebrows anyway but this definitely emphasises them. I am a fan of the Anastasia Brow Wiz for ease and not having to fumble around with brushes too, but this kit could convert me. I think it makes brows look amazing.

Finally, the blending brushes by elf. I buy these all the time. They are £1.50 from I am pretty sure that I've picked up a few in the US for only $1 at Target. Like a lot of people, I love the 217 brush by MAC but it is rather costly. I wouldn't say this brush by elf is a dupe but it is really good for only the price of it and worth having a few around.

That is all, I hope that everybody has a fantastic weekend.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Hair Care: Long, Straight & Fine.

As you can see, I have pretty long and super straight hair. Above is my hair not straightened, that is just how it is naturally. I, 90% (what is it they say about 72% of statistics being made up on the spot!) of the time, wear my hair curled or wavy. I just want big hair! I get asked a lot what I do with my hair though, so I figured I'd put it on the internet. 

Shower products

I try to use a volumising shampoo or conditioner. Sometimes, in cases of running out in an emergency, I have to pick up something else but overall lack of volume is my biggest hair problem. Currently I am using Luxurious Volume by John Frieda. When I have conditioner in my hair, I comb through the ends (from about my ear downward) and leave it in there for a few minutes. From time to time, I use the Umberto Giannini Plump Up Volumising Mask for Big Hair. I do find that my hair both looks and feels thicker after I use this mask. 

I have balayage, though it's not noticeable in a lot of my pictures. I use Bleach London Silver Shampoo maybe once every two weeks to stop it becoming brassy. I've seen some reviews where people have said that this turns their hair blue but I've never had that happen to me. I guess I would advise caution if you have really light blonde hair.

After shower products

I have been using hair brushes by Denman since forever! Not much to say about it really, it does what I need a hair brush to do and I don't find it tugs on my hair or causes breakage. Two to three times a week, I spray some Umberto Giannini Instant Beauty Leave-In Conditioner into my damp hair before blow drying. I do wash and dry my hair every day (every week day at least and yes, I know that's bad!) so I figure some extra moisture can't hurt. 

On to the good stuff - texture! I use VO5 Plump It Up essentially every day. I have such flat, lifeless hair. This gives it a little ooomph! I lift sections of my hair, give this a good ol' spray and then ruffle things up with my fingers. If I've curled my hair, I always spray it liberally through the curls to mess them up a bit. I like bedhead hair.

Finally, I use Bb Texture Hair (Un)dressing Creme sometimes. This is a product that I use on damp hair. In all honesty, it can make your hair feel a little gross but it sure does make it bigger. If you like squeaky clean, swishy just washed hair, I'd avoid this. If, like me, you're fine with mussed up hair, buy this! I think it makes my hair look at least twice bigger than it really is!

If you have any recommendations of products for BIG hair, please leave them below.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

High End Versus High Street: Blusher.

In the spotlight today, I have two blush palettes - one which is high end and one which is high street i.e. freely available from the drugstore. My high end choice is Foreplay, by Nars (on the right). As you may be able to tell from the picture above, this is a well loved product of mine. I probably should have attempted to clean it up a bit! My high street choice is Lace, by Sleek (on the left).
Both of these palettes contain three blusher shades (one which is very similar) and Foreplay has the added benefit of having a super pretty highlighter included.

As you can see, both palettes are packaged nicely. Some people have a gripe with NARS and the rubbery texture of their packaging but personally I like it a lot. It can get a little grubby but wipe it down with damp cloth and it is fine. For the price, the Sleek palette also looks rather nice. I find it a teeny bit awkward to open but that is nit-picking!

Colour wise (from left to right), the three shades in Lace are Crochet, Guipure and Chantilly. Foreplay features colours based on their infamous blush Orgasm. Orgasm is contained within the palette, and along with it there is a gold highligher, a peach matte and a pink matte shade.

I have always had a soft spot for NARS blushers, for as long as I have been buying my own make up but I have to say, the quality of Sleek is comparable. The three of the Sleek shades contained within Lace are extremely pigmented. The application is beautiful and really long-lasting on the skin.

NARS Orgasm (left) - Sleek Guipure (right)

NARS matte peach (left) - Sleek Crochet (right)

NARS matte pink (left) - Sleek Chantilly (right)

Orgasm and Guipure really do look so unbelievably alike. Guipure is such a good dupe for Orgasm, perhaps just slightly more shimmery. I like a little shimmer so it isn't a problem for me. The other two shades look crazy orange but I can assure you that they are wearable, you just need to use a light hand. 

What I really love about the Sleek palette is that the pans are very wide so it is easy to dip your brush in one shade and not accidentally hit another. With NARS Foreplay, because the pans are smaller, unless you use a small brush, you are pretty much guaranteed to have a mixture of two (or more!) colours at one time. 

I can't give an opinion on which I'd pick over the other but I will hold my hands up here and admit that even as a NARS fiend, I love Sleek. In fact, I imagine I will invest in more of their Blush X3.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Review: Origins Clear Improvement.

As the packaging suggests, Clear Improvement by Origins is an active charcoal mask used to clear pores. Apparently charcoal acts as a magnet and works to draw out any impurities lodged under the skins' surface. This mask hardens very quickly on the skin and once it has dried, it can be washed off. I find that I have this mask on for less than five minutes each time I use it. I tend to apply it once a week.

After using this mask, my skin is squeaky clean, as in it actually squeaks. I do have some visible pores on my forehead between my eyebrows but after using this product, they definitely do appear to be reduced. Unlike with some masks, I do not find that I suffer from break-outs post use. For that reason, this is the only mask I have been relying on for some time now (other than my beloved moisture masks, of course!).

I have recently repurchased Clear Improvement as part of a gift set.

Great Gift Alert!

This set, along with the aforementioned mask, contains a 75ml Drink Up Intensive Overnight mask and a 75ml Drink Up 10 Minute mask. I would definitely pick this trio up for any girl who is into her skincare. I know that I would love to receive it! I bought mine in John Lewis but I have also seen it available at Origins counters elsewhere (in Ireland too!). I paid £22.50. This is an absolute bargain considering a 100ml tube of Clear Improvement alone retails for almost £20.

Travel sized versions of the above Origins products are also available for anybody who might like to dabble and not just take my word that these are incredible.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

NOTD: Russian Roulette by Essie.

I bought three new Essie nail polishes last weekend and this is one of them - Russian Roulette. I have been looking for a classic red shade for quite a while now and I am content that this is The One. It is a striking bright red and I would say that it has an orange undertone. It looks quite warm against my skin and I like that.

I, as always, did two coats but this is one particular nail varnish that I was happy with after only one coat. For that reason, it is highly recommended to anybody who wants opaque colour with little effort or those who don''t have a lot of time to do a manicure. I know I am going to be relying on it in the future.

I would say that this is an Essie 'must-have'.

I topped it with Insta-Dri by Sally Hansen. I think chips are super noticeable on a red nail but I'm hoping to get at least five days out of this. Fingers crossed!