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Wednesday 30 October 2013

New! Cocoa Brown Chocolate Whip Oil-Free Body Moisturiser.

I have been waiting for the latest wonder product from Cocoa Brown to be released for what seems like an age now so when the lovely peeps behind the now hugely popular brand sent me my very own bottle, I was thrilled. I may have even "wooped" a little..but the less said about that the better. 

Chocolate Whip is an oil free body moisturiser containing Vitamin E (reduces appearance of age spots and stretch marks) and Panthenol (making it suitable even for acne prone back skin, as it moisturises without clogging pores). 

Cocoa Brown Chocolate Whip

Body oils and moisturisers that contain oils are recommended for a more gentle removal of fake tan, something I've been employing all Summer to prevent the patchy residues you get from exfoliating alone. I generally use coconut body oil every night when I want my tan to start wearing off but when I've newly applied my tan I want to be able to moisturise and still maintain my tan and finding an oil free moisturiser isn't always the easiest. That's where Chocolate Whip steps in. 
You get all the benefits of an oil based moisturiser; soft, smooth skin but you also prolong your tan for a bit longer and for me, that's a must-have product right there.
It smells fantastic, like the one hour tan (Tahitian gardenia) but with a lovely hit of chocolate as well. 

Cocoa Brown Chocolate Whip

And it looks like chocolate too! Hurrah!
Recommended use is to shower and exfoliate with Tough Stuff Scrub (review HERE), apply Chocolate Whip and the following day (what I do), apply your tan. From then on, you should use it daily to keep your skin in good condition and your tan fresh looking. Obviously, if you love chocolate but like to rock the pale look, you can use this purely as a moisturiser with no link to fake tan at all. 

If you're interested in checking this out for yourself, it'll be be available soon from Penneys, selected pharmacies and Superdrug (if you're in the UK) for the frankly amazing price of €7.99!! And for that you're getting 200mls!! I know, bargain of the year!

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Guest Post on Rara Giggles!

Hello all! In case you didn't see it, I've written a guest post on my top three red lipsticks for Winter for one of the loveliest bloggers I know, Sarah from Rara Giggles. Her blog is jam packed with beauty, skincare and accessories posts in Sarah's trademark uplifting and friendly style (plus she's a big Urban Decay fan, a woman after my own heart). If you haven't read her blog, go check her out HERE!


Topshop Does Hitchcock

A brief perusal through Topshop last week left me in no doubt that the brand is going for a 1960's, ladylike aesthetic for Winter. This means that I want everything, as you'll know if you've read my Hitchcock posts HERE and HERE. I love a bit of Tippi Hedren and as I strolled through, the displays of fake fur stoles, nude courts, 60's shifts and retro handbags built an image of her in my mind. Here she is, in all her old school glory, just before being mercilessly pecked by evil birds:

My suspicions were then confirmed when I actually looked in the window display..

Nicely played, Topshop, nicely played.

Friday 25 October 2013

Celebratory Giveaway!

I recently hit a few personal blogging goals; over 60,000 blog views, over 300 followers (between GFC and Bloglovin) and I set up a Facebook page for the blog which now has 130 likes. Hurrah! I'm unbelievably happy with all of this, especially considering this is really just my own little corner of the internet and I certainly didn't anticipate such a positive response to my witterings!
To say thank you for this, I'm doing a giveaway. In keeping with my love for Bourjois, everything bar the make up bag is from the brand and actually contains things I either already love or really want to try, so you're getting a good'un!

If you win, you will receive:

  1. This delightful Ted Baker-esque make up bag (it's actually Penney's finest and is ridiculously cute plus it fits a surprising amount)
  2. Bourjois Bronzing Primer. This has been likened to Chanel's Soleil tan De Chanel and although I haven't tried it myself, it looks lovely.
  3. Bourjois Cream Blush in Rose Tendre, 03. The blogosphere went a bit wild for these when they first came out and with good cause; they're pigmented, easy to blend and come in beautiful shades, like this lovely pink.
  4. Bourjois Rouge Edition in 18, Violine Strass. This is the perfect Autumn/Winter berry/plum shade in a fantastic formula. I did a review of a different shade in the range HERE.
  5. Bourjois Laser Toppings nail polish in Aqua Purple.
  6. Bourjois Twist Up The Volume Mascara in Black. This looks rather interesting. It's all fancy and twisty. 
  7. Bourjois Liner Feutre (felt tip eyeliner) in Black. This is my favourite pen eyeliner. It came out on top out of four I reviewed HERE.

So there you go, you've got a whole new make up look (minus foundation, concealer etc as I couldn't predict the winner's skin tone :)

The giveaway is open internationally to over 18s. If you're under 18 then you need permission from a parent or guardian to enter (as I'll need your address to send your prize out!). I'm using Rafflecopter and it couldn't be easier- just follow the steps below. The giveaway opens on the 25/10/13 and closes on the 22/11/13. Best of luck and thank you again for reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday 24 October 2013

Bourjois Color Boost Glossy Finish Lipstick in Plum Russian

Well that's a mouthful. I've made my feelings for Bourjois perfectly clear with THIS POST so naturally  I couldn't wait to get my hands on their version of the lipstick/balm/crayon that's been doing the beauty rounds for the last couple of years. They already brought out a Summer edition of these but I didn't pick any of them up, purely because I felt the colours weren't anything new, I had a lot of corals, pinks and peaches on the go already and so I was sensible and put my wallet away. Then came Plum Russian, a stunning dark berry shade that actually sheers out to a very wearable dark plummy pink on the lips. I had to have this and eventually tracked it down. 

It screamed Winter to me and because Mac's Rebel is already my favourite lipstick ever, I knew I'd love this. Really it is a balmy, glossy version of something like Rebel. I'm not sure I'd ever describe it as a lipstick though, as even though it is very pigmented, it requires little in the way of effort to apply it, it isn't hugely long wearing and it definitely doesn't make as much of a statement as a lipstick with a bit more substance might. That all sounds like a lot of negatives, I know but really it isn't. As I said, I wanted something like Rebel but in more of a balmy format and this is it. 

I throw it in my bag, top up whenever (which is actually a good bit; don't be expecting this to last through coffee, food and definitely not a bit of smooching, cause it won't) and I don't need to worry about it wearing off unevenly or transferring to my clothes or onto my face. Also, sometimes you don't want to make a big statement with your lips but without compromising on colour and I think this is a good option for those days.

Lastly, it feels very moisturising and comforting on the lips, again, like a lip balm and it smells amazing- like cherries! This is €10.99 and can (sometimes) be found in your nearest Boots.

Have you tried any of the Colour Boosts from Bourjois?

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Caring for Coloured Hair

A few people have asked me recently about how I look after my newly dyed red hair so I said I may as well do a post on it, share the knowledge and all that! 

My own natural colour is a light brown/dark blonde but I really wanted to change things up so I went to my hairdresser originally and she toned down the remains of my blonde highlights, thereby evening out the overall colour of my hair. She then added red over that and since then I've been topping it up at home with (1) Wella's Colour Fresh semi-permanent colour in 6/34 (dark blonde/gold red). This is a pretty cheap and cheerful dye. I get mine on look fantastic for around €11 a bottle, which is good for hair dye. It doesn't have any frills attached- no little bottle of conditioner for after you've washed out the dye and the plastic gloves provided are a bit useless. That being said, it's easy to apply, I leave it on for 20 minutes and it's sorted for another couple of weeks. 
To help prolong that even further, I use (2) L'Oreal Elvive colour protect shampoo. This was recommended to me by my hairdresser and it was also voted best shampoo for colour treated hair by readers, so that's good enough for me! It claims to boost colour radiance for up to 7 weeks, which I'm not completely convinced of but I do think it's effective. It also smells nice, lathers well and doesn't dry my hair out. 
I then condition with (3) Kerastase Chroma Reflect Radiance Enhancing Milk for colour treated hair. I really like Kerastase products, especially their conditioners. This is lovely on the hair, leaving it soft and just a little bit swishy with a nice shine once dried. 
Lastly, once or twice a week I use (4) Clairol's Colourseal Gloss for radiant redheads (I have in the past used both the blonde and brunette versions and they're also excellent). I love these little tubes. This is a treatment for after shampooing and is designed to prolong your red in between colourings. If I could only recommend one of these things it would be this; my hair is always in better condition after I use it, it's softer, shinier, the colour is definitely more evident and it smells delicious- like coconut. Mmm. 

So that's my lot. I have also been using a hair oil but will save that for a separate post! Anyone using anything else for red hair you'd recommend?

Tuesday 22 October 2013

Halloween Costume Rage

Don't be fooled by the cranky title, I actually love Halloween but this year an email from the Costume Shop Ireland has left me with a slight case of the Hulk smashy-smashy. "Check out our new costumes", they suggest. Surely, says I. To my delight and being a lover of all things popular culture, they have Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands costumes. To my horror, they also have them in  "women's versions". This can only mean one thing; near nudity. Granted, in my time I have worn the obligatory skimpy Halloween costume. I'm a big fan of fancy dress and have previously been She-ra, Marie Antoinette (the dead version) and a Freudian Slip and yes, most of those were revealing in some way but the primary difference being that none of those were "male" costumes to start with that someone felt the need to make appealing to women by adding some arse and cleavage flashing. 

If I want to dress up as Beetlejuice, why can't I actually dress up as him? Why the bastardised version on the right? Aside from everything else, she doesn't even look like Beetlejuice, more like an old timey umpire/prostitute, if such a thing ever existed.

Another thing that bothers me about these, is how sweet and demure the female versions are while the male ones actually resemble the real characters; creepy and weird, just like Halloween should be. My question is, why can't women enjoy popular culture how it is? Why do we need our own separate "sexy" version of it? Do women themselves find the concept of dressing up in the more authentic costumes unappealing because they would feel less attractive or is this something that, dare I say it, the patriarchy has foisted upon us over the years? 
I myself had planned on dressing up as Ripley from the Alien movies this year and had the whole thing planned. All I needed was a flight suit. A cursory search on eBay gave me these results:

What I wanted was the man's suit on the right (which would be unwearably large on me) and what I find for women is the "suit" on the left. Ripley would've laughed in that woman's face, probably before rescuing her from a horrible death. 

Does this bother anyone else or is it just me being persnickety? 

Monday 21 October 2013

Dublin Bloggers Meet Up

Over the weekend I attended the Dublin bloggers meet up organised by Samantha from All The Buzz (if you're not following her, go do so now! Her blog is a fantastic mix of beauty, lifestyle, health and showbiz news and she updates regularly so there's always a new post to read) where myself and 30 or so other bloggers were treated to three (!) amazing goody bags, delicious cupcakes, yummy food platters, a very generous raffle and some fabulous guest speakers! Phew! 

Me, Michelle from Kandigloss and event planner extraordinaire, Sam!

It was lovely to chat to some people I knew already and some new (to me) bloggers. I came away with lots of blog links, all of whom you can check out in THIS post, written by Sam. 
I've borrowed these photos, taken by professional photographer David McAuley (you can visit his website HERE) from Sam's page as I was so busy enjoying myself I forgot to take any proper photos! Anyway, I think you'll agree, it really was a special day. 

Cupcakes by Monaco (HERE)
I actually managed to take this one myself before demolishing the one on the right..nom nom.

Goody bags, top left and right (the pink bag was full of lovely items from Dublin based company The Cosmetic Outlet, check out their Twitter page HERE). Bottom left and right- raffle prizes which raised €150 for the chosen charity, Reach Out (a very important cause, helping those with mental health issues. You can look at their website HERE).

Left; Demonstration from Niamh Martin of Nima Brush (HERE), who very kindly gave everyone a beautiful Kabuki brush from her range. Right; Michelle Mc Mahon from Herdotie (HERE), gave a truly inspirational talk about utilising social media (she's actually convinced me to finally set up a Facebook page for the blog, so watch this space for that!). She was warm, funny and beyond helpful- I'm sure we all came away with a head full of tips to improve our blogs and I'm very excited about implementing some of those ideas!

It really was a fabulous day and a huge thank you again to Samantha (and the lovely Mona!) for all the hard work, thoughtfulness and organisation that went into everything. I can't wait for the next bloggers meet up!

Friday 18 October 2013

Wall Stickers

I've previously mentioned my love for a good wall sticker with this Oscar Wilde quote (actually a stencil but you get the idea) HERE and since I'm always on the lookout for the perfect ones for when we own our own house some day, I thought I'd share a few that have caught my eye lately:

"Hello Beautiful" HERE. I think this would be a fun addition to a plain mirror, especially for a dressing table.

Dumbledore Quote Light Switch sticker "Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light" HERE. I can't even explain how much I want this but I can't find it in the exact way that I want it! An option may be to hand paint it myself but either way, how cool would this be just randomly on a light switch! Yes, I know, Nerd.

"The Greatest Thing you'll ever learn is to love and be loved in return" HERE. Bit of a smushy one but I think this would be beautiful as it is here, above a bed. I'd gladly take the rest of the decor too, obviously.

Bird cages HERE. I have a bit of a thing for bird cages so this really appeals to me, although it could get a bit tiring after a while.

Family Tree HERE. I love this! What a fantastic way to display all your old family photos!

Wallpaper sticker HERE. This one is slightly different as it's a panel of wallpaper but in sticker format. I love the chevron pattern and I think it'd make for a really interesting feature wall.

Blowing Tree HERE. I'm big into the tree stickers, obviously! This isn't specifically the one I had in mind but I couldn't find that one and this is a similar idea. Again, I like a feature wall behind a bed and something like this is a bit quirky and quite pretty too.

What's your opinion on these? Stylish or just an excuse to relive your childhood days of collecting stickers?! Let me know in the comments!

Thursday 17 October 2013

Ali Mac Skincare

Relatively new skincare brand Ali Mac deliver products as nature intended- you won't find any parabens, synthetic perfumes, preservatives or SLS's in any of their products and they don't test on animals. All of that is pretty much music to my ears. My skin tends to veer on the dry and sensitive side so I try and put the best possible ingredients on my makes sense really! Given this, I was delighted to receive a sample of the Chamomile Face Balm and the Hydrating Face Mist from the brand to try out and I also received a second Hydrating Face Mist at a blogging event so I've been comparing the two. Here's how I got on:

Rose and Camellia Face Mist & Chamomile Face Mist (not pictured)
The purpose of both sprays are to tone and hydrate, recommended use is after cleansing but they can be used at any time really, and are great as a little pick-me-up, sprayed throughout the day (I found them particularly helpful during that crazy heat we had this Summer). The rose and camellia contain organic rose and citrus essential oils and are suitable for dry and mature skin types while the chamomile spray contains organic mandarin, soothing calendula and of course, chamomile and this one is suitable for all skin types. I thought starting out that I would prefer the rose and camellia as I do have such dry skin but actually I prefer the chamomile. This is purely a personal preference- for me the rose scent is a bit overpowering (it's not a scent I'm a huge fan of anyway) and spraying it on my face is a touch unpleasant for me. However, the chamomile smells divine; it's fresh, citrusy and invigorates the senses. That may not be the effect you're after if you plan on using this as a toner at night after cleansing, but fear not as chamomile is known to be soothing and relaxing. Hurrah! My only worry with these is that the second ingredient in both is alcohol denat, with benzyl alcohol also featuring further down the list- something I generally avoid in my skincare as it can have a drying effect on the skin. I'm willing to give it a go this time though as I am really liking the chamomile mist and I'm hoping the other lovely ingredients balance this out. Both mists retail at €22.95 each.

Image borrowed from the Ali Mac website as my little sample pot is almost empty!

Chamomile Face Balm
Containing rosehip and argan oil (renowned for their healing properties), chamomile and mandarin oil, this is a super soothing balm to promote the skin's natural cell renewal and is suitable for all skin types. This, I LOVE. You know the way sometimes you put on moisturiser and your skin still feels really tight afterwards? Not with this. This is like drinking a tall, cool glass of water, but just for your skin. I use this at night after cleansing, toning and applying serum. I massage the balm between my fingers to heat it slightly, turning it into an oil and then apply it, letting it sink in (which can take a few minutes)...then I enjoy the relief. It really is just a lovely product. Similar to the face mist, it smells beautiful and is something I look forward to using every night. I was actually stuck recently for cleanser and used this- washing it off with a hot muslin cloth and it removed all of my make up and left my skin feeling super I'm thinking this could be a pretty awesome all rounder. The price for the balm is €39.50 for 50g, which I actually think is very good value. It's taken me ages to use up my sample pot so I can only imagine how long you'd get out of the full size.

If you want to check out more form Ali Mac you can visit and purchase from their website HERE
I have my eye on the Chamomile Cleansing Melt, which looks great. Have you tried anything from Ali Mac?


Wednesday 16 October 2013

Shopping My Stash: Benefit Hervana

I've had Hervana for ages now but have probably only used it a couple of times..I know, sinful. The reason for this was that while I liked this blush, I didn't feel like it was doing a huge amount for me. I don't like to have to work too hard with my blusher, I feel like it should just do the job without too much of a hoo-hah. That's right, I said hoo-hah. 

Benefit Hervana

Anyways, I've seen a lot of positive reviews of this lately so I said I'd give it a proper chance and I popped it on today, with surprising results. Firstly, it's very aesthetically pleasing. I mean, look at it close up:

Benefit Hervana

I mean, seriously. That's just stupidly pretty. The economy may be doomed but at least we've got fancy looking make-up, am I right? Don't answer that.
The box comes with a mirror in the lid and a little slanted brush, although I'm not sure most people use them, they probably are handy for travel purposes. I do worry how well the actual cardboard box will hold up however.
So in there you've got four shades that you swirl together with your blusher brush and apply for a "heavenly flush of enlightenment" apparently. The four colours- lucky shell, divine peach, heavenly rose and berry delight are designed to blend together perfectly and I would definitely agree with that. It also has a fairly noticeable scent to it- like sweets. Once it's on the cheeks, it looks like a very pretty, natural pink with a light iridescence. 

Benefit Hervana

So I'm converted. It is a very lovely blush, pink and pretty and definitely no fear of anyone mistaking you for a scary clown when out and about. It's subtle, is what I'm trying to say. What I didn't like about it originally is that I felt it wasn't pigmented enough but on reapplication, I found that building it up a couple of times with a light hand produced the desired effect.
The downside is of course the price. This'll set you back around €28.68 HERE on look fantastic. I think that may be slightly better than in store and it's certainly better than Asos. While, yes, that is fairly pricey for a blush, especially given the fact that there's a recession on, as aforementioned, it will last you donkey's years (technical term). I've had blushers from Benefit that I've used practically daily that kept going for over a year so I'd expect the same from this.

Have you tried Hervana? Are you a fan of Benefit's blushers?

Thursday 10 October 2013

Recently Viewed, eh, now.

I actually only saw four of these in the cinema and the rest were watched when we discovered US Netflix (well worth getting by the by), which is great as there were a couple there that I might not have found otherwise. 

About Time
This is a refreshingly different romantic comedy. Domhnall Gleeson learns he has the power to travel through time- a family trait passed on to him by his dad (Bill Nighy, brilliant as always). There are limitations- he can only go back to times and places he's been to already and he can't change certain things. Mostly though he just wants to use it to get a girlfriend so he sets about finding love. Although that is a huge part of the storyline and his relationship with Rachel Mc Adams' character is well documented, in the end the film is really about family and the bond between a parent and their child, which I wasn't expecting and I have to say, had me weeping away (quietly, I should add) for most of the film. This is a really great film, it is a bit cheesy in places but thoroughly enjoyable and heartwarming and I can't recommend it enough. 

Hugh Jackman plays a dad whose young daughter goes missing, along with her friend. A search led by cop Jake Gyllenhaal gets underway and a motor home that was in the neighbourhood when they disappeared is found but there's no evidence that the driver took the girls. Jackman thinks otherwise however and decides to take matters into his own hands to find out the truth. From there there's several plot twists and lots of uncomfortable viewing. That said, I really enjoyed this film, I spent most of it hiding my face, on the edge of my seat and going "ah Jaysus, no, don't do that", which you know, sign of a good'un. It also left me thinking what I would do in a similar situation. The acting is superb and there's a very impressively gloomy, dark atmosphere (not dissimilar to the Silence of the Lambs actually) with a strong sense of dread and a decent storyline. Well worth a watch.

Room 237
I have a bit of an obsession with The Shining. I'd seen the film about a million times before eventually getting around to reading the book (for shame), which I naturally then preferred. I definitely still have a soft spot for the film so I was keen to see this documentary about others who are also a bit obsessed and their perceptions of the film's hidden meanings. While some of it was interesting, generally I was just a bit sceptical of the various conspiracy theories it presented- it heavily focuses on the moon landing conspiracy, the Holocaust and the genocide of American Indians for instance and a lot of it just felt a bit desperate, like they were grasping at straws. The "hidden clues" were often real stretches of the imagination and didn't seem anywhere near as important as those interviewed deemed them to be. If you're a big Shining fan then there's no harm in giving this a watch but you might be better off just watching the film again. 

This is by the same guy that made District 9 so I had high hopes for it. It's similarly dystopian themed- set in 2154, the world is horribly over populated, all of the wealthy folk now live on a man made planet/Utopia (Elysium) where no one gets ill thanks to a fancy machine called a med bay. The planet's Secretary of Defence (Jodie Foster, who is amazing) is pretty tough and considers those who try and sneak in from Earth for badly needed medical care to be scum. Step in Matt Damon's character- a lowly factory worker on Earth, broken by the system who goes to extraordinary lengths to try and bring equality to the two worlds. Like I say, I really wanted to like this but struggled with the politically saturated tone of the film- overpopulation, restriction of health care and exploitation of the poor being the main themes which felt like one long lecture with a bit of fighting and pseudo sic-fi thrown in for effect. Overall, meh.

This is The End
A comedy starring the likes of Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill and Evan Goldberg as fictional versions of themselves, this is really just an excuse for a group of friends to have a bit of craic and make some money out of it, from what I could tell. Franco has a house party that various famous actors, comedians and singers attend, only to be stuck together after a powerful earthquake leads to the onset of the apocalypse. They then have to figure out how to survive when everything seems stacked up against them. This was definitely amusing in parts but I felt like it lost the run of itself at times and just ended up being a bit drawn out. Having said that, the performances of the actors themselves were all very self deprecating which I think saved this from being a bit of a disaster in itself (pun intended).

God Bless America
This is a dark comedy about a middle aged insurance salesman, weary with America's newfound adoration for all things popular culture, reality TV and those who pursue fame for the sake of being famous. This combined with a diagnosis of terminal cancer and his horrid family, tips him over the edge and he goes on a shooting spree with the help of an equally apathetic teenager Roxy. The two become good friends and end up mirroring Bonnie and Clyde a lot, except without the romantic connotations. All in all, this was an interestingly dark view of modern culture, enjoyable at times but if you're looking for something to melt the cockles of your heart, this is not it. 

It's A Disaster
A small ensemble cast of unusual characters, the film centres on four couples gathered for Sunday brunch in one of their houses. It's all rather tense and awkward as there's lots of history between all of them and a few secrets but things are relatively alright until they realise that all lines of communication with the outside world are no longer working and that there has been some unknown disaster (potentially bombs exploding around major cities in the US) that could spell the end. From there, things devolve even further within the group leading to hysteria and rash decision making. This is an enjoyably quirky, dark comedy with an interesting take on the "end of the world" themed films we've seen so much of. Also, Tobias from Arrested Development is in it and he's always worth watching!

Jurassic Park 3D
We all know the story of Jurassic Park so I won't bother going into it but I thought I'd include it here just to mention that we went to see it in 3D and it was pretty cool. It's definitely one of the few films of that nature that haven't really aged a huge amount- the special effects are still fairly impressive and it was enjoyable to watch on the big screen again but this time in 3d. A great exercise in feeling like an auld one too. 

Have you seen any of these? What did you think if so?

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Bourjois Java Rice Powder (Universal Illuminating Powder)

I mentioned in my Ode to Bourjois (HERE) that this Poudre de Riz de Java, or Java Rice Powder to us boring non-French speakers was to be my next Bourjois purchase and here we are. Based on the brand's best selling product from 1869 and to celebrate their 150th anniversary, they've re-released this little beauty in this rather lovely retro packaging. The idea behind the transparent powder is to boost skin radiance, smooth the complexion and set make-up with one shade to suit all skin tones. 

First off this has a very strong scent, kind of like Love Heart sweets. That sounds a bit weird and if you have a sensitive nose then this might be best avoided but for me, it's heavenly! I keep opening the pot to have a sniff because it's so lovely. Once it's on your face, after a little while it's not that noticeable anymore.
Secondly, it does have a fair old whack of pink shimmer in there- not glitter, just a very finely milled powder with a pink iridescence running through it. For this reason, I think this might not be the best setting powder, particularly if you're prone to an oily complexion and you require something a bit more heavy duty. In that case, you could also use it as a highlighter. Again for me though, this is a perfect all over powder because I have very dry skin and generally, I don't even set my foundation all that much. 

I had however been intrigued by all the talk of the Hourglass ambient lighting powder and was pleased to hear some tout this as a cheaper alternative. Having not tried the former I can't make a comparison but I do know that I LOVE the effect this gives. That's right, shouty capitals. I use a fairly light hand with this (to avoid looking like the bizarrely sparkly undead) and I end up with an overall, healthy, lit-from-within glow. I don't find that it looks shiny or anything on, just...radiant. Any foundation shiny-ness is nicely blotted too so for me it does exactly what it says on the very pretty mint box. 

It's actually difficult enough to take a good photo of it on the face because it really just provides more of an airbrushed glow once it's on and that isn't the easiest thing to capture on film, so you may just have to take my word for it here!
Have you tried the Java Rice Powder? Have you embraced the illuminating face powder trend?

Saturday 5 October 2013

Books Are My Bag..

Indeed they are! Launched on September the 14th, the Books Are My Bag campaign is running across Ireland and the UK right up until Christmas with the objective of getting book lovers to visit their favourite book shops, support retailers and buy some books of course! When you make your purchase, you get this amazing bag:

If you feel like it, you can then tweet, instagram or email a photo of you with your bag to the "make your mark" competition, explaining what makes your bookshop so special (more details HERE). Your picture and quote could end up being printed on bookmarks that would then be delivered to your bookshop of choice and you could win lots of book tokens for yourself. Lovely. 
I think it's a great idea, I love real books- the smell and the feel of them are second to none (I know, it's all gone a bit weird but stick with me) and I get a little jolt of happiness when I get a new one (granted, that doesn't sound any better..I'll just get my coat). 
For me then, bookshops are great places to be and I definitely support this campaign. If you are getting any books any time soon, remember to ask about your free tote bag and wear it with nerdish pride, like me! Himself knows my love for a new book far too well and because of that, picked me up these two from Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl (you can read my review of that HERE). I can't wait to get stuck into these as they look excellent.

When I lived in Limerick, I would've said O'Mahony's was my favourite book store- it's massive and has every possible genre of book in it you could ever imagine. I used to go in there and spend ages looking at all the shelves, making lists of all the books I wanted and would often treat myself to a new book I'd had my eye on. Nowadays, I love The Winding Stair bookshop there on Lower Ormond Quay. Apparently it's one of the oldest independent book shops in Dublin and what I love about it is the general vibe in there. There's a wonderful atmosphere- it's small but peaceful and it holds an astonishing array for its size. I've come across some beautiful editions of books there, wonderful second hand volumes, recent releases and a great range of Irish authors. It's always a very pleasant experience and well worth a look if you haven't been. 

What's your favourite bookshop? Are books also your bag?!

Friday 4 October 2013

Sleek Blush: Antique

As part of their new Romance collection, Sleek have launched Antique, a "dusty rose blush..laced with subtle silver glitters". Being the certified blush addict that I am and a big fan of Sleek products, I had to try this out and for only €5.49 (available HERE on Cloud 10 Beauty) it would've been churlish not to!

Packaging on this isn't the most luxurious (although for the price that really isn't an issue)- it's a small black plastic container that is actually really difficult to open..once you prise it open you'll find 8g of product with a handy little mirror in the lid.

The shade of this is quite a departure for me as I've mostly been wearing pinks, peaches and corals of late but what with the change of weather and my hair colour (I'm now a redhead) I thought I'd try something new. I was really surprised at how much I liked this- for me it's a dusty rose in the pan but once on my cheeks, it reminds me of plum jam!

Random, I know! It really just has a plummy feel to it, almost a pinky/brown. Like all Sleek products, this is very pigmented so I would advise a gentle hand when applying, otherwise you could risk looking a bit like this:

National treasure, yes. Style icon, no.

That aside, when applied reasonably it does look very pretty. It certainly added a pretty pop of colour to my pasty cheeks and I really liked how it worked with light pink lips and bronzed-shadowed eyes:

One thing I will say is the iridescence in it is pretty obvious, I decided against wearing a highlighter too because this really was more than enough. I wore it all day and when I checked it out after a good 8 hours wear, that iridescence was still there- more so than the actual colour of the blush. The brand describes it as silver flecks but on me, I felt it was more of a blue/lilac. Very different to my usual choice of blush but I'm enjoying it so far and while I do think it's a fantastic Autumn shade I would probably avoid this for the workplace- it might just be a bit too much for that. 

What do you think? Are you a fan of Sleek blushers too?

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Recently Read August/September

I didn't read a huge amount over the last couple of months because I discovered Pretty Little Liars and got sucked in completely. When I did manage to pick up a book I read some good'uns however:

The Age Of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
I loved this book, it gripped me from the start. Julia is a young teenager who wakes up on a regular Saturday morning to the startling news that the rotation of the Earth has altered- there is no longer a set 24 hour clock, the days and nights are longer, what used to be night time is now day time and vice versa. Each day has extra minutes and there's no way of knowing how long or how short each new day will be. So far, so weird. What I found really interesting about this was that the author really thought about the effect this would have on everything- gravity, the tides, the weather, birds, animals, human behaviour etc and because of this it made it all the more creepy- I found myself constantly going "that could happen like that!". Also because the story is told from the perspective of an adolescent girl, it feels more realistic somehow- because her experiences of growing up and being a normal teenager in a now very abnormal world are explored it feels like a global story told on a more personal level- that of a coming-of-age tale, and I liked that juxtaposition. 

The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes
I'm a big fan of Marian Keyes and had been meaning to read this for a while but I'd come across some slightly negative reviews of this, so I held off on picking it up. I'm so glad I did though because I really liked it. Helen Walsh is a private investigator, badly affected by the economic downturn and because of this, agrees to work for her ex-boyfriend (a music manager), in order to locate a missing boyband member. Helen herself suffers from depression, which she battles throughout the book as she also works at solving the mystery. Like all of the author's books, this is very witty and rather quirky. At first glance, Helen Walsh isn't a particlarly likeable character and this certainly is not what I would describe as "chick lit" (a title Marian Keyes has been erroneously given in my opinion) as it can be a bit dark in places but she really grew on me and the fact that she is a bit eccentric made her all the more intriguing. I was really rooting for her and also found the exploration of the character's depression very interesting. Aside from that, the actual mystery itself was well thought out- I hadn't figured out the solution at all and was kicking myself that I hadn't! Overall, a very enjoyable read. 

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robbert Galbraith (technically J.K Rowling though)
I listened to this one on an audio book and got a really good feel for the characters because of that. They were all very well developed and I really enjoyed Rowling's style of writing, having never read any of her books before (I know, for shame). Cormoran Strike is an overweight, unlucky-in-love, war damaged private detective who is hired to investigate the apparent suicide of a supermodel. With the help of his newly appointed secretary Robyn, they endeavour to sift through the many unusual aspects of this case to find out what really happened. This book is very well written, there's a real web of intrigue that you get sucked into quite easily with many different and interesting characters. A very engaging "who dunnit".

A Study in Scarlet and The Sign Of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I also hadn't read any of Sir Conan Doyle's books before but love the tv series Sherlock so I was interested to see what the books are like. This is one of only four full Holmes novels, the rest are short stories and this is the first introduction to Holmes and Watson- where and how they first meet, move in to Baker St and tackle their first case together. This turns out to be a dead body found in an abandond rural manor. There's blood in the room but not belonging to the victim, in fact there's no mark on the victim whatsoever. The only clue is the word "rache" (revenge) scrawled on the wall. From there, another body is found in unusal circumstances and Holmes and Watson are called in to aid the rather bumbling detectives in finding the killer. Then, out of nowhere the book goes off on a massive flashback tangent- basically telling you the back story of the murderer who up unil now we haven't even been introduced to. This part baffled me a little bit to be honest and it also has come in for a lot of criticism over the years apparently, mostly because there is no way the reader could have solved the case for themselves, which takes the fun out of it a litte bit. At the end, Holmes gives a lengthy speech on his brilliance and how he pieced all the parts of the puzzle together but to be honest, it's hard to be in awe of him when he's privy to information that us mere readers aren't. Having said that, I actually really enjoyed the style of writing, finding it unexpectedly modern and I will definitely be reading more from Sherlock soon.

Have you read any of these? Read anything good lately I should be looking at?