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Tuesday 25 September 2012

Mini Boots Haul- L'oreal Color Riche polish, Real Techniques Core Collection and Garnier No Streaks Bronzer

This actually wasn't quite so mini to begin with- apart from the below, there was also Girls Aloud eyelashes (the Nicola ones are absolutely brilliant- couldn't recommend them enough. Natural looking and ridiculously easy to apply with a very cool vintage style flick on the ends. Love), a repurchase of the Collection concealer (review to follow at a later date), hair clips and ties, a No. 7 eyeliner and a Kate Moss lipstick that I haven't even opened yet. What I have used and can tell you about are the following:

1) I was looking for a solid red coloured nail varnish to go with an outfit for a wedding and as I had already used and reviewed 3 of the L'oreal Color Riche polishes here and highly rated their application and longevity, I said I'd give this shade- 'Rouge Cancan' a go. I wasn't disappointed, this is the perfect shade of true red, again application was a doddle and with a top coat, I got a good few days out of it chip free. Huzzah!

2) Anyone with a vague interest in beauty or beauty blogging will have heard of the Real Techniques brushes by Samantha Chapman, of Pixiwoo fame. I hadn't previously used these brushes but was in need of some new ones and this set was twenty something quid, for four brushes, which I thought was fairly decent. Anyway, this is the "core collection" for a "flawless base, with high definition results" to "look pixel perfect even in harsh light" using "ultra smooth taklon brushes". Right so. 
It contains a Detailer Brush (suggested use is as a concealer or lipstick brush), a Pointed Foundation Brush (for liquid foundation to build custom coverage), a Buffing Brush (for full coverage application of powder and mineral foundation), a Contour Brush (to apply highlighter etc) and the Panoramic Case (brush case that doubles as a stand to display the brushes in). So far I've used the detailer brush just for lipstick cause it's tiny! The pointed foundation brush is really small too so I've been using that as a concealer brush and as a general "foundation finishing" brush. I've been using the Buffing brush for a flawless finish when used with my YSL bronzer. Lastly, I haven't actually used the Contour brush yet so I can't really comment on that. The case also handily has spaces for three more brushes, which is great. So basically I'm not using any of the brushes for their intended purposes. Having said that, these are good quality and have been excellent for my chosen uses. Think I'll try their stippling brush next.

3) I was also in need of a new fake tan- I wanted one as easy to apply as the Rimmel wash off one that wouldn't, wash off. I had read a positive review of Garnier's No Streaks Bronzer so I said I'd give that a go. It's a tinted gel with added golden shimmer. Garnier claim it's quick drying, natural looking with no self-tan smell. In fairness, it is quick drying and if well applied (i.e if not applied at 1am after two glasses of prosecco with a fake tan mitt that has just fallen into a sink full of water) then it is streak-free. When I did my arms and upper body I used a (dry) mitt and it applied really well with a great finish. However, my legs were more problematic due to the (wet) mitt application, so it ended badly. Obviously my own fault. Also, I don't think I exfoliated enough so ended up with some super tanned areas- in between toes etc. Nice. It does still have that fake tan smell as it's drying, although not as strong as some other tans. As a tinted lotion, there's no guessing while you're applying it as to where it's going, which is handy if you wouldn't generally consider yourself to be that great at self tanning- again, like the sort of person who applies tan at 1am after a few jars. My main issue with this is when it's wearing off- it has that dreaded leprosy look I abhor and then it took aaages to scrub it off. Gah. Not the worst tan ever but nor is it in line for the coveted title of "Holy Grail of Tans". 

Has anyone any better tan or foundation brush recommendations for me? Please, enable me to spend more money! :-)

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Lovely Vintage Finds

I spotted the above pendant in the window of an antiques store last Saturday. Although the display was literally just a swarm of necklaces, brooches, earrings etc, this stood out to me straight away. I love cherries and this was just too pretty to resist- the fruit is a pink/red glass while the stalk and leaves are gold plated. The shop owner tried to tell me this dates from 1925..hmm. Bit sceptical about that but to be honest I would've bought this even if it had been made yesterday, it just has a lovely tactile quality to it. Because the chain was missing I got 10 euros off, which was sweet but it does mean I'm now on the hunt for a long gold, reasonably priced chain so if anyone has any ideas where one could find such a thing, please let me know!

This 1950's crocodile patent/suede handbag was a vintage find from The Loft Market in the Powerscourt centre- which is well worth checking out, they sell a variety of different jewelry and accessory designers as well as vintage items the owner has sourced, like the above.
The bag itself is in very good condition- to be honest, they just don't make handbags the way they used to. Back in the day women used to have one or two bags only, classic designs in durable materials that lasted them forever- hence why I now own this! There's four pockets, apart from the main one in the middle, which in itself contains a further two pockets! Handy! I love this bag, it makes me feel slightly more ladylike and hopefully just a little bit as stylish as a Hitchcock heroine- seriously, watch out for the outfits in those films, the bags are exactly like this!
I love both of these items- aside from their obvious prettiness, I love thinking about who might have owned these, if they were lifelong favourites and if they loved them as much as I now do. Ah, the joys of vintage shopping :-)

Monday 17 September 2012

Liz Earle Limited Edition Cleanse and Polish

This months special offer on the Liz Earle site is for the usual Hot Cloth Cleanse and Polish with two muslin cloths, Instant Boost Skin Tonic and the Skin Repair Moisturiser but with the option of the special edition cleanser in place of the regular one. I've professed my love for Liz Earle previously here and here so obviously I had to check out the special edition cleanser (which is in rose and lavender). For every bottle sold, £2 is given to the Prince's trust, a UK charity which works with young people, which is great. Although this has the same amount as the regular bottle (150mls), it's a thicker bottle with a fancy design. Regardez:

This is the same formula and consistency as the regular cleanser but the fragrance is, in my opinion much stronger and a little bit overpowering. To be honest, I was a little bit disappointed with it but that's purely because I adore the scent of the original and while I like both rose and lavender, I think together they're just a bit much. Again though, that's just me and obviously fragrances are subjective so you may love this (especially if you like those aromatherapy type scents). If you're interested I would order now though as it is a limited edition!

Thursday 13 September 2012

Hairdressing Rant..

Todays post is a little bit different. Basically I was giving out about this for most of last week and as I'm still annoyed over it I thought it might be somewhat cathartic to write it down (or type it down as the case may be).
So last week ahead of a family wedding I headed off to the hairdressers for a cut and half a head of lights. Arriving there the stylist who was to do the cut informed me that I hadn't been booked in for the colour, just the cut. Rather than being apologetic he asked me if I had in fact actually asked for the colour when I booked, no, I thought it might be more fun to see if they could guess telepathically what I wanted instead. Bizarre. He spent a long while telling me I didn't need to get the colour done anyway, why was I wasting my money doing that etc? I think he missed the part where I was giving money to his employers, but anyway. He then spent the next 40 mins asking me a lot of questions. I mean A LOT. It wasn't even like he was trying to make conversation, it was more like I was a suspect in a crime and he was interrogating me. A hair crime!
Here's a small selection of questions he threw my way:
  • Do you use straighteners?
  • How often do you colour your hair?
  • Do you use expensive products? (seriously)
  • Exactly which products do you use?
  • When you wash your hair do you stand up in the shower or tip your hair upside down? (seriously)
  • Do you ever use dry shampoo?
  • Is the water in your area hard? (seriously)
  • Is your hair knotted after washing it?
  • How many times a week do you wash your hair?
  • Would you consider not colouring your hair anymore?
  • Would you consider washing your hair less?
Jesus, I feel withered just typing it. Believe me when I say that's just the tip of the questioning iceberg. He decided the back of my hair wasn't in great condition and all the many questions were to determine what it was I had done wrong to have caused the problem. Cause that's so relaxing. I don't know if it's just me but I consider getting my hair done to be a treat, especially when you're paying well for it. A cup of tea, a magazine and a bit of peace and quiet shouldn't be that much to ask for. 
Because I actually take quite good care of my hair he decided EVENTUALLY that it was the fault of hard water in my area..which I can do nothing about. So that whole thing was both stressful and a complete waste of both of our time. It's not like I was even receptive to conversation- I kept my head buried in a magazine the whole time so each new question was clearly interrupting me from what I was reading. That's the part I really don't understand. Like he obviously thought he was being helpful by asking me all that but how was it not incredibly obvious to him that I wanted to be left alone? I didn't ask for his advice so I'm still confused as to why he felt the need to spend 40 minutes giving it. To be honest it wasn't the greatest cut or blow dry I've ever had either, in fact I've definitely done better myself (shocking, I know). Worse still is that it wasn't til I got home that I realised that the hair style itself wasn't that great so I hadn't complained on my way out of the hairdressers. Gah.
Is this just me? Has anyone else encountered anything like this? Obviously all stylists are different but it has completely turned me off ever going to this particular hairdressers again. 
I do feel much better after that little rant though. Aaahh (relaxed noise).

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Where the Wild things are

I love an animal print. I've been known to adorn myself with cats, owls, birds of other varieties, and rabbits (not the real ones, obviously. I'm not that weird). Recently I picked up a very cute bunny ring, which I showed you here. This seemed to be the start of my "nature themed" jewelry ownership. Then there was this beautiful necklace my sister gave me for my birthday (available from this rather lovely shop called Butterfly in Kilkenny):

So cute. And these funky flamingo Topshop earrings friends got me, also for my birthday:

Then the other day I found this bee scarf in Warehouse:

And this sparkly leaf ring in Avoca:

I've also spotted deer, fox and even racoon prints for A/W so I may well be looking into those a bit further. Yay for animal prints!

Sunday 9 September 2012

Benefit Sippin n' Dippin'

I tried one of Benefit's creaseless cream shadow/liners a few years ago (skinny jeans if I recall correctly)  and while I liked that one I wasn't particularly blown away. Then I saw this reduced on and thought it'd be a nice base colour for under my new Chanel Illusion D'Ombre, which I've posted about here. Now I actually have it though I've realised how lovely a shade it is on it's own. I've read other reviews that have said it's similar to Mac's paint pots, is long wearing and crease proof. I've never tried Mac's paint pots (shocking, I know) but I can fully agree with the rest of the positive reviews.

It looks just like a standard gold cream but it's actually a kind of pink/burnt gold, depending on how the light hits it, which is just really interesting. Gold shades tend to be super flattering on blue eyes so I'm really pleased with this and wear time is really good. This has been discontinued as far as I know but like I said, it is available on offer from which seems to be a handy site for lots of stuff and well worth checking out, if like me, you have a minor *ahem* make up addiction.
                  Benefit on the left, Chanel lightly swatched on the right

Friday 7 September 2012

New Boots

Kurt Geiger, you masterful prince, you.
With Winter fast approaching, all the shops now have their A/W stock out, which is endlessly pleasing to me. You see, I love Autumn. I also kind of love Winter but the extreme cold (and by that I mean, constant inability to get or stay warm unless permanently attached to my electric blanket) of the past couple of years has lessened my love for it somewhat. That aside, I'll always be fond of winter coats and boots. Currently I have my beady little eyes on an absolutely AMAZING (yes, capitals were necessary, you can't properly gauge my excitement otherwise) red coat from Ted Baker but it's crazy expensive so I'll have to ignore its existence and instead focus on these equally fabulous KG boots I got in House of Fraser:

God knows I love a black Winter boot but a STUDDED black Winter boot is just the ideal really. That's right- I'm living the Winter boot dream. Happy days.

Tuesday 4 September 2012

OPI: Russian Navy, La Paz-itively Hot and Elephantastic Pink

I've been after these 3 shades for a while now (Elephantastic Pink, Russian Navy and La Paz-itively Hot) when I saw them for cheap (9.50 for Russian Navy and 10.50 for the other by OPI standards) on whilst I was picking up shampoo (25% off Kerastase..sweet). It would have been crazy to leave these behind! Elephantastic pink is kind of the perfect bright creme pink, Russian Navy is a shimmery Navy bluey/purple and La Paz-itively Hot is (unsurprisingly) a hot pink with a shot of lilac shimmer running through it. The pinks look similar here but are actually completely different:

Ya see?! These apply really well, no streaking and fast drying. They're also pretty much opaque in one coat but with two coats they're nicely glossy. I can't tell you how chip resistant these are because I'm still on my irritating OPI Nail Envy buzz (curse you, Everlasting polish) but I did a quick swatch of each (which I then had to remove and replace with the Nail Envy again. Sigh). Anyway, here they are:

Bottom Picture, L-R: Elephantastic Pink, Russian Navy, Elephantastic Pink again and La Paz-itively Hot

Lovely. I think La Paz-itively Hot will be a great toenail shade, Russian Navy is a great Autumn/Winter colour, while Elephantastic Pink is a nice pop of brightness but is still wearable enough to compliment most outfits. And that's my justification for buying more nail polish all sorted :-)

Cherry Scones

So we did our groceries at the weekend (an exciting start to any blog post, I'm sure you'll agree) and somehow we ended up with a bag of cherries that cost SEVEN EURO. Yes, shouty capitals are necessary here. We obviously didn't realise until we'd paid for them amongst all the other shopping. It's important to note that these weren't magical cherries or anything, so I'm unsure where the 7 euro price came in. Good old M & S. Anyways, as it turns out they are in fact delicious and as we paid such a princely sum for them I thought I'd take the opportunity to use my amazing mixer again. Oh the joys of the KitchenAid. I got the recipe for these from


  • 125mls Milk
  • 1 Medium Egg
  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 3 tsp Baking Powder
  • 60g Butter
  • 60g Caster Sugar
  • 100g Glace Cherries (I used fresh instead, obviously)
  • 5-6CM Fluted Round Cutter ( I also didn't have a cutter, so I just shaped them myself)
  • Baking Sheet, Buttered.

  1. Add milk to the egg to make 150mls. Reserve a tbsp of the mixture for the glaze. Tip all the ingredients into the mixer and whizz in bursts until the ingredients bind together. Take care not to over-mix it or the cherries will be too finely chopped. Alternatively, tip the flour and baking powder into a bowl and rub in the butter. Roughly chop the cherries and add them with the other ingredients, mixing with a round-bladed knife until a dough is formed.
  2. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 2cm thick and use cutter to stamp out scones. Re-roll trimmings and cut out more scones until dough is used up. Place them on the baking sheet.
  3. Brush the glaze over the top of the scones, then bake them in the centre of the oven at 220 degrees Celsius (239 degrees F, gas mark 7) for about 15-18 mins, or until they have risen and are a light golden brown colour.
  4. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or cold with butter (and raspberry jam!)
  5. Enjoy!

These turned out a little bit cracked but were delicious nonetheless. Yay!

Monday 3 September 2012

Nars: Burn it Blue and Night Porter

When I was a youngster I experimented a lot with eye make up and wore a variety of colours- blues, greens, purples, reds and pinks. I was particularly fond of a blue Urban Decay shadow called "swimming pool"which I used to (ill advisedly) slather on, probably thinking I was great. Thankfully I had the sense to realise bright blue eyeshadow and pink frosted lipstick were a no-go, so at least I spared myself that misfortune. These days my make up look is a bit more subdued. I tend to reach for the Naked palette or Chanel's Illusion D'Ombres rather than anything too bright. Recently I felt like shaking things up a bit so I thought I'd return to my roots and get some blue/green action going on. Hence these babies:

Burn it blue is a duo-cream eyeshadow in turquoise and iridescent ocean-blue, designed to be either worn alone, together or under other shadows as a base colour. Because these are creams, they apply like a dream (Nars suggest fingertips or a brush- I prefer fingertips for this), are easy to blend and have a non-crease formula. As you can see from the swatch (which were lightly applied) they're also highly pigmented. What I like about these is that you can go all out and do a full eye or use just a small amount as liner on the upper lid with black liner to create a smokey look but with a flash of colour. I like these. That shimmery ocean colour in particular is actually really wearable and very pretty on. This will set you back around 33 euros (pricey but it's Nars- you're paying for a high quality product) and is also available in three other shades: Summer Time (Champagne and Sunset Gold), Madagascar (Satin Nude and Smokey Quartz) and Camarague (Golden Moss and Sienna infused with sparkly bits). Summer time and Camarague are calling my name..

This is kind of a cheat cause it's actually mostly black with green shimmer but what the hey! Nars describe Night Porter as a "micronized powder formula..highly pigmented, sheer shadows..crease resistant. Easy to blend, the shadows can be layered for a more dramatic effect, in a selection of matte and shimmer finishes". It's all true! Nars have not lied to us! Hurrah! Look at that swatch- it's so gorgeous and it really is just so pigmented, again that was only lightly applied but it still comes up a very strong colour. Love it. I got this when I was in Chicago and I have no idea how much I paid for it. Apologies. I just checked on ASOS though and it's 23.46 euro on that. Again, this is expensive but it is an excellent product. This also comes in 17 other lovely colours.

Anyone any other bright shadows they can recommend to me while I'm splashing out colour-wise?!

Sunday 2 September 2012

Fancy new ways of drinking tea

Whilst on Honeymoon we had tea in lots of fancy ways..

Afternoon tea (yes, we ate all of that..and it was amazing):

Bone china tea cups and saucers:

And in super fancy Jane Austen stylee surroundings:

So when we got home, having tea in regular boring mugs was a bit, well, boring. Luckily we recieved these little beauties as presents:

The very pretty robin mugs are from Avoca and the set of four bone china mugs at the bottom are from Cath Kidston (which is lucky, as they'll go nicely with everything else I own).
I also picked up this lovely tea cup, saucer and biscuit plate from Marks and Spencers:

So pretty. All of the above happily house these new teas I got, also from M & S:

I can highly recommend the white tea and raspberry..mmm. May have a cup now actually..If someone would like to provide me with a selection of sandwiches and little cakes to go with it, that'd be great!

Saturday 1 September 2012

The Burren Perfumery

While on Honeymoon we made a stop into the Burren Perfumery (Hubster's suggestion, as he thought I'd enjoy the products..he knows me too well).

Situated in the middle of the Burren, everything available to buy is made on site in the "still room", there's a slideshow that explains all about the different plants and flowers used and a tea rooms serving organic cakes, scones, pies and herbal teas. All rather lovely. The shop is beauty junkie heaven, selling oils, creams, balms, soaps, perfumes and aromatherapy salts.
As a present, Hubster (or Dr Fancy Pants as he can also now be referred to as) bought me the Summer Harvest Body Lotion and Shower Gel and Organic Rose Massage oil.

The body lotion and shower gel are 250mls each and are part of the Burren Botanicals range and contain no parabens, no sodium lauryl sulfate, no animal derivatives, no GMO ingredients and no colourants. So pretty decent then.

The range also comes in Spring and Autumn varieties but I was just really drawn to the Summer reminds me of the smell of the sun on grass and flowers, if that makes sense! It contains Camomile, Sage Extracts and Shea butter, is light in texture and leaves the skin really soft and moisturised.
The rose massage oil is for my back- particularly beneficial for aching muscles but can also be used for a head cold- a few drops added to a bowl of steaming water and inhaled. It smells divine and has definitely helped my poor banjaxed back.

As well as Rosa Damascena Oil, it contains: sweet almond oil, Jojoba, Avocado, Apricot Kernal Oil Sweet Orange Oil, Lavendar Oil, Cedarwood Oil, Geranium Oil and Olive Fruit Squalene. Almost edible.
So basically, really lovely products in a beautiful setting. If you happen to find yourself near the Burren I would definitely check it out. If not and you're interested in getting someone a present that's a bit different then you can also order online at