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Tuesday 26 June 2012

Revlon 'Dreamer'

Ooh, I love a good pastel blue. This one from Revlon happens to be a particularly delightful offering.

I got this ages ago along with their pastel lilac 'Charmer' in a 3 for 2 Boots splurge and love both polishes equally (kind of like having children, except nothing like that at all actually)- the perfect consistency, easy to apply (needing barely 2 coats), long lasting, almost chip resistant and just such a beautiful colour. To be honest, I had never really used Revlon's polishes before so I was beyond impressed by the quality of this. I've had Chanel varnishes costing twice the price that have chipped within the hour of application, whereas this little beauty stayed put for days before a chip appeared. It also passed another important recent addition to my standard nail polish tests- HTB asked me if I had gotten a manicure done, so in awe was he of "Dreamer" (in awe is a gross exaggeration of events..he did like it though). 
And here t'is, in use and in all its pastel-y glory:

Dreamy... (see what I did there?!)

Sunday 24 June 2012

Clinique Chubby Sticks

Spurred on by recent glowing reviews of these lip balms by Emma on Fluff and Fripperies and Marian Keyes on (yes, THE Marian Keyes), I felt I had to try them out for myself..all I need is a good make up review to enable me and I'm away! Anyway, these were part of my birthday treat to myself, so they arrived about a week ago and like a good little blogger I've been testing them thoroughly since then. I got two, Chubby Cherry- a lovely red/pink and Pudgy Peony (greatest name of all time)- a fuschia pink.

These are almost crayon-like in appearance, which appeals to the 8 year old in me, with a slightly waxy finish further adding to the Crayola similarity. Because of this, they seem to have good lasting ability (if I can get through a cup of tea and I still have some lip product in place, I generally consider that to be good lasting abilty. Fierce scientific altogether). The silver part at the end is for twisting upwards when you're running low on product- no messy sharpener/lip balm incidents necessary (which to be honest, was always my main reason for not buying these, once they added this feature- obstacle removed!).

These are 100% fragrance free, (which I think is not that surprising considering these are from Clinique) so those of you with sensitive skin or a dislike of scents that close to your nose will be happy out. Clinique actually describe these as a "moisturising lip colour balm", which is fairly spot on. They contain mango and shea butters for dry, delicate skin and I have to say, they do feel quite nice when applied. I also like the soft sheen of colour it adds- if you like to make a strong statement with your lips, these won't be for you but if you want a hint of colour without involving a gloss or a drying lipsick, (particularly for daytime) this is a good option. Here are the swatches:

Chunky Cherry and Pudgy Peony, with normal light, left and flash, right.

I think these two might be more pigmented than others, I've read a couple of reviews of the lighter shades online that suggest a lot of layering is needed to build up the colour, which I haven't found to be a huge issue with these. There are 16 shades to choose from in total (8 of those being recent additions), with similarly cute names, such as; Mighty Mimosa, Voluptuous Violet and Whopping Watermelon. These were 16 sterling each on the House of Fraser website, which is a bit pricey for these recessionary times we live in but I don't see either of them wearing out any time soon so probably good cost-per-wear-wise (if one could be bothered working that out). All in all, I like these, I don't know if they're going to be my favourite lip product of all time but they'd definitely make the shortlist!
Has anybody else tried out any of these little lovelies?

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Garnier Body Intensive 7 Days Ultra-Softening Lotion

Catchy title, eh? I recently signed up for Garnier's "Body Intensive 7 days free trial" of their softening lotion with L-Bifidus (no, me neither. Apparently it's inspired by pro-biotics, whatever that means) and shea butter. Seven sachets of body lotion arrived in the post along with the Garnier skin reader- "a handy little device that can help show the amount of dry skin cells on the skin surface".
Basically it's a black sticker that you rub onto your shin, peel off and proceed to stare at all the tiny white skin cells it took with it in wonder. Or NOT as the case may be. Because I've been moisturising lately! Take that Garnier! Ahem. So yeah, mine remained a black sticker with just a couple of skin cells on it because I've actually been making an effort to look after my skin (thanks to the wonders of Jo Malone) and so I felt the challenge of using this for 7 days and then retaking the skin reader test would be a bit wasted on me. That decision aside, I'm obviously the perfect candidate for marketing campaigns cause the next time I was in Boots I felt magnetically drawn to purchasing a bottle- 250mls for the princely sum of 4.26. Not too shabby!

And it really isn't. This stuff is great. Garnier recommends this if you have dry to extra-dry, dehydrated skin and claims it results in long lasting hydration, a decrease in dryness and roughness and an increase in suppleness, skin lipids and moisture, and again, all this for only..4.16 euro!! Sold!
What I like about this is that it's light in texture, is absorbed easily, is suitable for sensitive skin and smells great. I've recently been making more of an effort to wear fake tan so what I've started doing post shower is use this stuff, let it dry in and apply the tan over it- it's probably just me but I find it's a lovely base and my skin feels softer than it usually does when I just use fake tan alone. It takes literally just a few minutes to moisturise the entire body which is a bonus for me as I'm super lazy when it comes to body lotions.
This one also comes in a mango flavour and a peach flavour gel-cream is available for even more instantaneous absorption. There's also a shea butter hand cream in the range.

Monday 18 June 2012

Birthday Nails! (and bonus ice cream)

Certain celebrations require extra super sparkly nails to highlight the importance of the event- New Years Eve, Christmas and of course, Birthdays. We were headed to the Taste of Dublin in the Iveagh Gardens on my birthday this year and because the weather was a bit gloomy (my Winter boots had to be rooted out, although the weather completely cleared up after a couple of hours and was lovely again..typical) I felt I needed ridiculously flashy nails to compensate. Plus I really wanted to try out this OPI "Divine Swine" from the Muppets collection that I've had for a while. It's a clear based polish with small magenta coloured glitter paired with large circular silver glitter pieces. Regardez vous:

This is one of those glitter polishes that you'd need about 3-4 coats of on its own to get to the colour in the bottle. I, however am lazy and so I threw on a base coat, then two coats of Zoya "Tobey", which I previously reviewed here, followed by two coats of the OPI and sealed it with a top coat of Seche Vite. Although that really doesn't make me sound lazy at all, now I read back on it. Hmm, I should stop being so self deprecating, where nails are concerned at least. Anyway, this is one of those glitter polishes (like Deborah Lippman) that because the glitter pieces are larger, requires some element of "placing" the glitter where you want it on the nail, rather than just brushing it on, as you would a regular polish, which was fine and I actually found it easier to apply then the Deborah Lippman glitters. I really expected this to chip all over the place but it's four days since I applied it and it's still going strong, with only the odd small chip here and there. Hurrah! This is it, out in the "sunshine":

I like it. It does feel slightly like I should rename myself "Candy" and start working in a Gentleman's club but that aside, they are quite fun to look at. Once again I think I may also have blinded some stall vendors at Taste, in particular the nice man who sold me my Dirty mojito:

Unfortunately, the blinding didn't prevent me from having to hand over 6 of my *technically HTB's* best Florins. Sigh. Just to say though that these nails did receive the greatest possible compliment ever- HTB said they were his favourite of all my many glittery polishes, because and I quote "they actually look like the way the glitter does in the bottle". So there you go! A man said that!! It must be true!
Oh and here's the bonus ice cream:

Custard on the bottom, then a layer of soft caramel, then a layer of chocolate gooey stuff, then toffee flavoured ice cream, with toffee popcorn on top. AMAZING. And provided by Nick Munier (of Masterchef fame) himself! Good times!

Saturday 16 June 2012

I'm getting old..

Don't be fooled- that's not me, it's the lovely Marilyn, celebrating her birthday with a delightful looking cake. Not as fabulous as the cake HTB provided me with, however. Check it out:

Nom Nom Nom.
For the annual day of realising how old I'm becoming, HTB whisked me off a couple of days early to the beautiful Cliff House Hotel in Waterford. It was gloriously sunny so we sat outside for lunch and drinks and looked out at the sea while we both relaxed and also gradually burnt, I know..tut tut.

Yes, that IS Ireland. Stunning. Later on we ate in the Michelin starred restaurant, had bellinis and helped ourselves to the wine tasting menu.. I can't even explain how amazing it was (I know, I know- I should use my words, but this was just too good to even begin to describe), so I took pictures instead. Behold, the deliciousness (have a cloth ready at your chin in case of drooling):

                                                                  Amuse Bouche.
                             1st half of starter- Scallops with bacon, sweet potato and spinach.
                                                        2nd Half- Scallop and caviar.
                               2nd Amuse Bouche- lemon jelly, grapefruit sorbet and sea foam.
 Halibut with mediteranean veg slices on top, cherry tomato reduction, gnocci, brown shrimp and the flower of a courgette, stuffed and cooked in tempura batter.
 Dessert no 1- Strawberry meringue, trio of jellies-basil, strawberry and cream, strawberries with basil fondant, strawberry coated in popping candy, all lying in white chocolate ganache. The dish behind it had a strawberry cream with meringue, more strawberries and sorbet.
And THIS is hands down the best dessert I've ever had. Pistachio souffle (they make a hole in the top when they bring it to your table and pour warm custard into it), with an orange and rhubarb sorbet thingy (in the dish behind it). Just so good, I'd say it's the best meal I'll ever have.
As if all that wasn't enough, I also awoke to some fabulous presents on my actual birthday, which shall soon be appearing in an incredibly smug "birthday present haul" post. I like present haul posts but that's mostly cause I'm just really nosey.
Being really good to myself, I've also made a few online birthday self gifted purchases, which I shall share when they arrive! Yay!

Monday 11 June 2012

Pre Wedding Skincare Regime

Although I've always tried to take care of my skin, the prospect of my wedding looming (2nd of August, yay!) has driven me to ninja-like preparation ahead of the big day. I've had annoying spot flare ups on my chin (you're welcome for the mental image) for a while now, which I've put down to hormones, stress and the hatred the God of healthy looking skin has for me. I tried so many things- witch hazel, Origin's Spot On and their Clay mask (both of which I blogged about here), various cleansers and promises to the aforementioned God that I'd build a shiny monument in his/her name. None of which worked. Then I found Liz Earle and since regularly using the Hot Cloth cleanse and polish with a muslin cloth every night, followed by the Instant Boost Skin tonic toner, my skin has somehow miraculously cleared up (yes, I'm aware I sound like an infomercial. You can just picture me holding the bottle and smiling a toothy grin at a camera right about now, if you like).
Actually, maybe LIZ EARLE is the God of healthy looking skin..Anyway, this is the set I've been using:

I've blogged about the Cleanser (left) before, so I won't go into that again but in the same post I had only briefly mentioned the toner (right). This smells heavenly and is alcohol free so not stingy on the skin like other toners can be. It contains organic aloe vera, calendula, rose-secented geranium, cucumber and natural vitamin E, all designed to soften, soothe and refresh. Lovely. I've also previously mentioned the moisturiser in the set (top right) and that I wasn't overly impressed.. I think I've changed my mind about that. Since I finished it I started using L'ancome's Hydra Zen Neurocalm, which although lovely in Winter, is a bit heavy for Summer and may also be too overly perfumed for my skin's liking. So I've gone back to the Liz Earle, which is light, barely scented, easily absorbed and really comforting on the skin. I got the Dry/Sensitive version so I feel like I'm still getting the necessary moisture without weighing my skin down, like the L'ancome does. This contains Borage and avocado oil, echinacea, beta-carotene and again, natural vitamin E to intensely moisturise, soothe and protect.

Twice a week I exfoliate with St Ives Gentle Apricot Scrub, left (although I've recently procured a Liz Earle exfoliator, pictured above left, in the box in the cream to follow) and then massage in Origins Overnight mask, left, which I adore, and have also blogged about here.
I use Clarins Daily Energizing Cleansing Gel in the mornings (bottom left) and Clarins Eye Revive Beauty Flash when I think of it (worst skincare ninja ever) and I've been taking vitamin E capsules for their well known skin and hair benefits (at the advice of a beauty therapist, I've also massaged in the oil from the capsule into my skin to improve old spot scarring, which seems to be helping too). That's about it really. I've had compliments from people that my skin looks better, whether that's due to all of the aforementioned or the miraculous ways of Armani Designer Lift foundation, we'll never know.

Anyone any other tips (other than drinking more water, I've tried that but I'm useless at remembering that I have to keep drinking after the first glass)? Anyone tried Microdermabrasion actually? I was considering it before my skin cleared up but the same beauty therapist warned me off it cause my skin's so sensitive. I'd love to know if it's any good though!

Vivienne Westwood Anglomania for Melissa

I actually bought these a few weeks ago to go with a Ted Baker dress I got for a wedding during the Summer but seemed to forget about them until I got them out to show to my SILTB (the previous post will explain that) the other day. Basically, I've been after a pair of these beauties for a couple of years but needed a good enough excuse to actually buy them. And God knows, a family wedding is the best excuse ever!! Yes!!

Ah, would you look at them there, gorgeous so they are. Because they're nude and red (they come in a variety of colours but usually dependent on the season, they release different colours for S/S, A/W), they go with loads of things so I don't feel quite so guilty about buying them. I find them really comfortable because they're made of rubber so they're really soft (kind of like they're moulded to your feet) and the heel isn't crazy high. Plus they smell like fancy paper. That's right, you read correctly- the fancy paper that we used to collect, when we were young and carefree. Memories...anyway, that's an absolutely pointless feature cause I imagine that scent wears off fairly fast but I just thought it was a nice touch, and typical coming from Vivienne Westwood, who tends to be a bit eccentric to say the least. Sigh, I love them so. These came from  ASOS where they have a couple of other colour combinations too but you can also buy them directly from the Vivienne Westwood site. That can be dangerous though cause then you'll just want to get one of her lovely bags as well :-)

Sunday 10 June 2012

Delightful Things!

The sun is shining (bodes well for my plan to watch the match outdoors later), I'm not as hungover as expected, and am spending a lovely afternoon watching the tennis with HTB while he makes me several cups of tea. Bliss. We also just enjoyed a lovely morning of brunch in Odessa (Vegetarian Breakfast with juice AND coffee- to stave off the hangover, which obviously worked), shopping in Carousel and cake buying (I intend to somehow turn "cake buying" into a well paid profession) in Fallon and Byrne. Here's some pretty pictures of all that stuff and more:

The dress is from Carousel on Exchequer St. I love that shop, so many pretty things. Pretty, but pricey so I somehow managed to just limit myself to ONE dress, although it was touch and go there for a while. I'm partial to a bird print and this is just too cute. I plan on wearing this with a thin gold belt and some summery shoes although it looks equally as well with black tights, so wearable for Winter too. Yay!

Lemon and Mixed Berry tarts from Fallon and Byrne. We also got salads and fresh ravioli to have for dinner..yum. Also, not the cheapest but nice for a treat every now and again.

Cupcakes from Avoca, courtesy of my lovely Sister-in-law-to-be (which, to save time from now on will  be referred to as SILTB- so catchy!). I say cupcakes, plural because there were more originally but they were eaten. As was this one, obviously.

Lastly and most importantly, check out these stunning vintage earrings from Dirty Fabulous on Wicklow St (an early birthday present from my also lovely MILTB and FILTB- it's just easier than all the typing..I'm lazy). Love these far too much. Swoon.

Saturday 9 June 2012

Mad Men Barbie Dolls (contains spoilers!)

During one of my regular bouts of insomnia last night, I came across an interesting item online from The Huffington Post about New York photographer Michael Williams, who has taken the original Mad Men Barbie dolls (bizarrely launched in 2010 to help promote the show) and added a series 5 twist. If you didn't see the originals, here they are:

Being a huge Mad Men fan, these intrigued me. Upon closer inspection however, I felt the need for shouty capitals saying WTF?!! a lot, because for some reason Mattel thought it'd be a good idea to take the character of Joan- stunning and curvaceous redhead, played by Christina Hendricks, (above bottom left) and trim her down to the physically impossible traditional Barbie measurements. Seriously, WTF?!! The whole point of Joanie is that she's a buxom Marilyn Monroe type that turns heads everywhere she goes (actually kind of like the photo of the barbie in the green dress, above), in no way the same look as Betty Draper, pictured above top right. I do appreciate the fact that they gave her a haughty expression and her gold pen necklace though- actual attention to detail. As for Betty, she's pretty spot on really. Betty basically is a real life Barbie doll- the perfect housewife with model good looks, living in the suburbs with a gorgeous husband, perfect kids and slowly dying inside. Great outfit and hair too. And no, I don't know what's happening with Don. It looks like Mattel were trying to make a "Serial Killer Ken" doll and that's what they came up with. Roger Sterling isn't bad but then neither of them have glasses of whiskey or cigarettes as accessories, which isn't that surprising given that these are Barbie dolls but it does make it that bit less convincing.
So fast forward two years and this photographer has taken some of the dolls and updated them for the current series (which if you haven't seen yet, look away now):

The Joan Harris doll comes complete with illegitimate b*****d carriage, the fur coat Roger Sterling gave her and Emerald necklace of shame (poor Joanie). Fat Betty Francis comes with Inhalable whipped cream can, Weight Watchers Scales and two sundaes with ice cream scoop (she's a bit of a wagon but also, poor Betty). Megan Draper, Don's new wife comes with a microphone for serenading Don with her rendition of "Zou Bisou Bisou", Howard Johnson's famous Orange Sherbet and an audition script. Sally Draper gets a pink princess phone for clandestine calls with Glen Bishop (that little creep), her Family tree diagram, the New York Post with the Chicago Nurses Murder story on the front cover, a bottle of sleeping pills and a pre-fat Betty Draper Barbie doll (seriously, poor Betty).
Now that's what I call attention to detail. Williams has held back his Don doll and won't reveal it until the last episode airs stateside (come on already!!) but I'm sure it'll be as tongue in cheek as his other creations.

Friday 8 June 2012

17 Metallic eyes

During one of my regular rummages around my local Boots, I came upon these 17 "Wild Metallic Eyes", cream shadows for 6.19 euro each. I love metallic greens as they tend to go well with blue eyes so I was particularly drawn to "Wild Green", a sort of sparkly khaki. While there I decided to pick up "Wild Nude" (imaginative names), a sparkly taupe- handy for layering with other shades. They come in a couple of other colours as well and are all housed in these little plastic pots:

I don't think these are that long lasting, unlike a product like Chanel's Illusion d'Ombre, which tend not to crease and don't need reapplication, these definitely do, but then again they'll only set you back 6.19, so how bad. Here they are swatched, without and with flash: