Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Emergency Flormar Purchasing!

Last weekend we got in the car heading out of Dublin. I was tired from work the day before and having not slept super well, I was both looking disheveled and not well focused on the task at hand, namely getting myself into the passenger seat with the items I needed to not look like a White Walker. That is, my make up bag and my hairbrush.
Sure enough, I had forgotten them both. There they sat on the coffee table, of no use to anyone, except perhaps the 1940's era ghost lady that more than likely lives in our house and likes to try out my new fangled beauty products when I'm not there. Ordinarily I have no problem with leaving the house without make up, but I really and truly looked a state. If I don't wear fake tan, but I do wear make up, people will tell me I look tired. If I wear neither, people will call an ambulance for me, so shocked by my appearance that they fear I may in fact, already be dead. 

So, Himself stopped the car at a pharmacy, ostensibly so I could buy paracetamol, which I did but I also made a supermarket sweep style attack of the make up section and bought a few essentials. 
If you've ever been asked that "what's the one make up item you don't like to leave the house without" question, then you'll know what you would automatically want to purchase here. I previously had tried some Flormar products when they launched in Ireland (HERE) but have tried nothing since, although I do use their bronzer on a daily basis. This pharmacy had a Flormar stand, and as it's reasonably priced, I set about buying my "make up item I can't leave the house without", which as it turns out for me, is four separate items. 

flormar ultra brown eyeliner

I have to have eyeliner. I JUST DO. Without it, I look like I'm twelve. So I got a nice brown kohl liner, which is my fave as I like a smudged line that works with my blue eyes and isn't as harsh as a black liner. This is the Flormar Ultra Brown Liner and it's great. It didn't smudge that easily but then I didn't have any brushes or eyeshadow to smudge it out with so it did well, considering. It applied nicely and was soft enough that it didn't drag my skin but firm enough that it stayed put once on. I also used this to add a bit of definition to my brows and although it was slightly too dark for that, it still did the job. 

Flormar perfect coverage liquid concealer

My second must-have item is concealer, as I have relatively baggy under-eye bags. This is the Perfect Coverage liquid concealer and unfortunately, it's no great shakes. It's far too liquidy and doesn't have enough pigment or thickness to the formula for it to have any purchase on the delicate skin around the eyes. It didn't really do anything for me except for make me laugh at the description of what it does: "it helps to prevent and repair bags under the eyes". 
That ship has sailed long ago, sonny. 

Flormar Spider lash volume mascara

Thirdly, I bought mascara, because as it turns out, it really is all about the eyes for me. This fella immediately made me suspicious because it's called Spider Lash Volume, which I personally don't understand. Surely that's the opposite of the sort of lashes you'd want? Anyway, this is grand, it didn't set my beauty loving brain ablaze or anything but it did the job. Would I repurchase? Well, no, but that might have more to do with my never ending love for YSL's Le Effet Faux Cils Shocking mascara, which I will always be loyal to.

Flormar Perfect Coverage foundation

Lastly, I bought a foundation, which, was weird for me as I normally do a good bit of research before I buy a foundation and even in an emergency (playing fast and loose with the word emergency there), I wouldn't have thought this would be a product I couldn't do without. I guess we learn the most about ourselves in difficult situations like this (joking). This is the Perfect Coverage foundation, with spf 15, sweet almond and olive oil for "young, healthy, hydrated and protected skin". I quite like this except that I got the palest shade without testing it (again, husband waiting in the car outside, probably thinking "just buy the cheapest paracetamol, jeez, what's taking so long") and it is very pale (it's Porcelain Ivory). Pale gals, if you're looking for a good match, shade wise, this is great. I think for me though, it might be slightly too light. I again, looked not quite well, but in an Edward Cullen without the sparkles kinda way. Except with good coverage. I like this- it's prob light to medium coverage and having only applied it with my fingers, I was surprised at how well it went on. It also didn't mattify the bejasus out of me, which I hate and was nicely dewey but with a bit of a glow. I had no powder, but I didn't really need it either. I just need a different shade, totally my own fault. Two thumbs up for this one. 

I had both the peach shade of Dr. Paw Paw (if that is his/her real name. Seems unlikely) balm which I used as blush and my beloved Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk lipstick in my bag so that completed the look. Overall, I don't think I did too badly (I forgot to take a photo. #WorldsBestBeautyBlogger)! 

Have you tried any of these or anything else from Flormar? What's your "can't leave the house without" make up item?
To the comments!

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Skincare Shakeup #2

I always have new skincare on the go. Only last week I shared the newly reformulated Double Serum from Clarins with ye (read more about that HERE) and I'm really loving that. It's taken over from the oil and water based serums in my skincare routine that are in this post but these are still excellent so it's well worth giving them a nod too!

I picked these face masks from Korres up in the airport on the way home from Crete. They had a really good Korres selection, unsurprisingly, as they are a Greek brand and although I had an option to buy a boxed selection of these smaller sized masks, I felt I'd get better value from these individual ones, which were only a few euro each and better suited to my dry skin than the others that were available. There's only 18ml in each and so I've almost finished the Damask Rose overnight anti-fatigue mask, which I love. It smells like vintage rose perfume in a rich and creamy base that leaves my skin super soft when I wake up the next day. 
The Babassu Butter is for intense moisturising and nourishing and this one is a bit richer. If you have sensitive skin, this may be too heavy for you but I really like it. They'll both be great when the colder weather sets in*.

*auld one alert

Korres face masks

I've also got a whole post on the Pixi + Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse, HERE, so I won't go into a huge amount of detail now. Honestly though, I love this stuff. 
I've a good chunk used up already with plenty more to go. This is pricey for a cleanser, but so, so worth it.

Pixi + Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse

The last time I needed a new foundation, I took advantage of a "buy two items, receive a load of mini things for free" offer and so that was how I returned to using EsteĆ© Lauder's Advanced Night Repair. I used to use and love this years ago and so it was a pleasant surprise to return to it and find that I still loved it! I forgot just how well this works for my skin. I know it doesn't suit everyone, and again, it's a hefty price tag but it's certainly made me want to buy a big mad bottle once my Clarins is gone. 

I love Image skincare (the Vital C range is one of my all time favourites) and this is a pretty pleasant cleanser from them; The Max* is an acid, parafen and sulfate free, gentle daily cleanser derived from stem cells and plant extracts to nourish and balance the skin. It's kind of a mixture of a gel and a cream cleanser. It has a distinct floral scent which might be too strong for most. I don't have any problem with scented cleansers, but this one doesn't really do it for me. It does the job well and my skin feels squeaky clean after I've used it but that in itself means my skin feels a bit tighter than it does worth the Pixi cleanser, for example. It's fine but I won't be buying a full size. 

I've also blogged about this Vitamin C enriched facial oil from Korres before. It was another Cretan purchase, one I had planed to buy before I got there. Luckily, I got great savings on the brand in its home country, otherwise this is another pricey fella! I love it though, I use my jade roller with it to massage it in over my moisturiser and it's a delight. And yes, there's dried rose petals suspended in the oil. Swoon. Read a full review HERE

Image skincare korres facial oil estee Lauder advanced night repair

I tend to just take advice when I go into Lush, it's mostly foreign territory for me so I picked up the BB Seaweed Fresh face mask on recommendation from the sales assistant. This is packed full of fresh seaweed, ground almonds, rose absolue and aloe vera, all designed to soften, calm and soothe the skin. It also acts as a gentle exfoliator and removes any excess oil or dirt. Himself and I used this on our spa weekend to Monart (in between the official spa visits!) and we both liked it. It did dry out like a clay mask would, even though it's not made with clay, which annoyed my slightly as I avoid clay masks- my skin is dry and I don't like the sensation of a drying mask on my face. Still, it was pleasant to use whilst soaking in the tub! Top tip- save up your black Fresh pots like I did, bring in five and get a free face mask like this one!

The Nivea 3 in 1 Cleansing Micellar Wipes* are new from the brand. I had really high hopes for these as I use Micellar Water a fair amount, mostly for a first cleanse to remove the top layer of make up etc or for travel. These wipes would be handy for the same reasons but I do find them less pleasant to use than a cotton pad soaked with micellar water would be. These dragged on my skin a bit due to being a bit drier than I expected and I felt I had to work harder to remove make up then I would have with the aforementioned cotton pad. If you're planning on taking these on holiday, I'd suggest bringing another cleanser with you to use with it. 

lush bb seaweed nivea micellar water wipes

I also bought this mini of Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturiser in the airport in Crete, for about €8, which has turned out to be quite the bargain as I'm only half way through now, several months later. I have used this before and I like it. It's not the best or the most moisturising I've ever used for the full year round but it works really well in the Summer, when I want a lighter moisturiser under my make up. This one is perfect for that. 
I love that little pot of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Balm in the corner there too. It's taken over from Nuxe Reve de Miel as my favourite lip balm, which is no mean feat!

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturiser

Lastly there is the Hydro Boost Water Gel moisturiser from Neutrogena. Again, this is a very light formula and perfect for warmer weather. It's so cooling on the skin and feels light enough while providing a good base for your make up etc. It's way too light for Winter though so I'll be shaking things up again soon enough!

Hydro Boost Water Gel moisturiser from Neutrogena

Have you used any of these? Are any of them your favourites already or any you've been wanting to try?
To the comments!

*indicates that a product was provided for review and was gratefully received. This is not a sponsored post, all opinions are mine only, as always.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Clarins Double Serum [Hydric + Lipidic System]

Clarins Double Serum has been around since 1985- it's been a continuous favourite for women and one of Clarins's best sellers. I've been using it for slightly less time than that- two years to be exact and its latest version, for just over two weeks and while that's not actually a long time in the skincare sense of things, I feel like I've got a good enough grasp on the product, to tell you all about it! 

Double Serum is just that- a two chambered bottle, one side containing a lipid based liquid (oil) and the other a hydric based (water). When you press down on the pump, by the power of engineering (and potentially witchcraft), you're given a mixture of the two, that you can then apply for optimum benefit to your skin. This is ideal for me as I have dry skin and I find both water based and oil based serums hugely beneficial and even more so when combined together. There just needs to be the perfect balance of the two, which is where Double Serum comes in. 

I had previously bought and loved the original Double Serum from Clarins- it was pricey but my skin absolutely loved it and so I used every last tiny drop. It was one of those empties that I mourned the loss of; it felt luxurious on and my skin was gloriously soft when I used it. 

The only concern I had was brought to my attention when I blogged about it at the time. It had mineral oil in it, an ingredient which is generally frowned upon by skincare lovers. Personally, mineral oil doesn't have any ill effects for me, so it was never an issue but for those who have sensitive skin, it was a deal breaker. Add to that, mineral oil is often considered a cheap, "filler" product and I can understand why this was problematic.

Speed forward a little bit to Summer 2017 and a new and improved version of Double Serum has been launched. 
You'll want to know what's changed and so I'm breaking it down here for yis in the most non-scientific lingo I can:

  • It now contains 21 plant powerful extracts, all with anti-ageing benefits.
  • The new skincare buzzword is "Turmeric", it's a bit of a miracle ingredient when it comes to optimising the function of your skin's cells, so it helps with things like; regeneration, oxygenation, nutrition, hydration and protection of your skin.
  • Clarins have involved even more women than before in the development of this serum. They claim it has a universal texture that's suitable for all women, all age groups, all ethnic backgrounds and all skin types, even those with sensitive skin (remember that mineral oil from before? That's no longer in Double Serum! Huzzah!)
  • The bottle itself has changed, so the double vial of before now has a measurement system at the top that allows for only a small amount of product, or a larger amount, (depending on your skincare needs) to be pumped out. 

I was seriously impressed by the amount of research that's gone into the new and improved Double Serum. First impressions for me are positive. I loved the last version and I love this one too. My skin feels comfortable when I use this, even relieved sometimes after I've applied it. I'll give this a longer trial and let ye know but so far it's two enthusiastic thumbs up! 

You can find the reformulated Double Serum in stockists nationwide, prices are €72 for 30ml and €92 for 50ml

Have you tried the new Double Serum yet? Did you love the previous version too?
To the comments!

*This post was not sponsored. I received a press sample of this product for review and as always, all opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Love Your Local Library!

As it's Book Lovers Day, I thought now would be as good a time as any to write about libraries and why they're so great. My Mum and Dad brought us to the library in Limerick and got us cards before we could even read and I still count this as one of the best things anyone has ever done for me. It meant that I had access to swathes of books suitable to my age at every age, as I grew up but also that I learned from when I was very young that books were wonderful, basically. 

Firstly, it was all about the picture books before moving on to Meg and Mog, Roald Dahl, the Ramona series, the S.K.U.N.K series, the Ruby Ring series and anything by Marita Conlon McKenna, all before moving on to GoosebumpsPoint Horror, Agatha Christie and Stephen King in my early teens*.

*That's only to name a very few of the books I borrowed, growing up. 

I didn't stop there though and kept going back to the library throughout my teens and early twenties. Although, for a time, the college library was more than enough library for me to handle so my own personal reading fell by the wayside. I then went through a brief period of "buy ALL the books" once I had a reliable wage, picking up books I had wanted to actually own for years; some of which had become favourites in the first place thanks to the library. 

When I moved to Dublin, I of course had to get a library card so off to Rathmines with me, drawn as I was to the beautiful building the library sits in there. I enjoyed pottering about in there before getting a coffee and strolling home along the canal with my latest stack of books but now I attend a library closer to work for ease. 

In the last year or so I've realised all of the amazing services the library provides in this country that I was completely unaware of. I've been using BorrowBox for about a year- it's an app for your phone. You log in with your library card number and password and you then have access to hundreds of ebooks and audio books to use on your smartphone. 
Often, the newer releases or very popular books may be on a waiting list so you can request them and will be given a date that it'll be yours. It's automatically downloaded to your phone on that date and you get an email letting you know it's there. It's like getting a little free surprise gift every so often! This has revolutionised how I read. Now, I always have at least one borrow box audio and ebook on the go, along with one or two real life books borrowed from the library and my usual kindle/other books I happen to be reading. 
Life is way too short for the amount of books I want to read so this works really well for me.

I also love that I can request the books I read for my book club and the date I need them by. Even if they're a brand new release and I'll get an email letting me know when it's available to pick up. 

There's way more that the library has to offer; I love mine for the collections of books it'll have on display. Award winners, Irish authors, pyschological thrillers, new releases, book club favourites. Lots of ideas if you're stuck in a book rut! If you have kids there's loads for them there too, along with dvd and music rentals, YA novels, plus a good selection of graphic novels, which can be expensive. There's also computer services and study areas. 

I get a unique feeling of enjoyment from visiting the library, which I know, makes me a total book nerd and I'm totally ok with that. I love reading and I love that there's a place that facilitates that love for absolutely no money whatsoever. On that note though, bear in mind that our library services will be cut back unless we use them. I know I'm paying towards mine with my taxes, and that's great but I found out recently that they no longer charge to renew your account when it's out of date, like they used to. Support your local library- attend, borrow, start a book club, tell everyone else how great it is!!

And that is the end of my nerdiness! Tell me all about your own love of the library, let's be book dragons together!

*How many times do you think I said "library" in this post? Eleventy billion? You'd be correct. Also, I was not paid by the library to write this post, although I can totally see why you might think that...