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Wednesday 31 December 2014

An End Of Year Blogging Round-Up

I was just looking over my most popular blog posts of 2014 and thought I'd share them with you too, just in case there's any you may have missed and are looking for a catch-up read on your Christmas break (self promotion for the win)!

Most popular here is based on how many views each post has- I can't get over how many thousands of people have clicked on and read my random witterings but needless to say, I am very grateful. While most of these are beauty posts, I was also delighted to see a book post in there and a couple of ranty ones too. Sometimes, they're my favourite to write. 


The two Nyx posts I wrote this year turned out to be very popular; their Christmas gift sets do all look fantastic and I mostly loved all of the lip products I reviewed by them HERE, in September.

Charlotte Tilbury came to Brown Thomas Dublin this year and we all went a bit mad for her beautiful packaging and stunning products, including the Filmstar Bronze and Glow and the much hyped Magic Cream.

Skincare wise, I blogged a lot this year about brilliant budget brand Ziaja, given that I LOVED their SenSitive range and recommended the Manuka Purifying collection for those with oily skin. 

The Max Factor Gel Shine Lacquers came out this year and proved to be a big hit, while you also loved a look at bargain gel nails available in Dublin with Nails by Rebekah.

Two hair product posts were well received; Garnier Ultimate Blends Dry Shampoo and a Kerastase/L'Oreal hair oil battle (to the death).

New to our shores this year came Wet n' Wild, and I had a look at some products from them HERE. I also tried out some of the Urban Decay Pulp Fiction collection, which you all seemed to love as much as I did!

I reviewed new products from Cocoa Brown, including their Lovely legs, La Roche Posays CC Creme and Rimmel ScandalEyes Mascara and gel liner which all got lots and lots of views. 

Lastly for beauty posts, was the stunning YSL Babydoll kiss & blush (which I'm still using every day and loving) and The Body Shop Colour Crush Shine Lipsticks- one of my favourite products of the Summer. 


My most popular book post this year was my September book haul, while lots of you weighed in on the Love/Hate rape memes and Marilyn Monroe body shaming discussions. 
Go Team!

Thanks so much to everyone for staying with me and reading along throughout the year, I really appreciate it!

Sunday 28 December 2014

New! Max Factor Excess Shimmer Eyeshadows

Brand new Excess Shimmer eye shadows from Max Factor* are gel based, super-blendable, shimmery potted eyeshadows that make doing your eye make-up a complete doddle. 

Max Factor Excess Shimmer Eyesdows

I've been using these for about a month now and have found two ideal combinations- one for work and one for a night out. 
First though let's have a look at all six of the available shades. 

Max Factor Excess Shimmer Eyeshadows

This was actually my least favourite. I found this didn't apply as smoothly as its siblings did, given that it seemed more grainy in texture. It also isn't a shade that I'm usually drawn to but that's a personal preference. You could also use this as a highlighter; in the corner of the eye or on the brow bone. 

Max Factor Excess Shimmer Eyeshadows

Pearl is a pistachio tone and in spite of the green hue, it actually does resemble the shine from a pearl. I think this one would look fantastic on darker skin tones or equally, used as a base for a smoky green eye.

Max Factor Excess Shimmer Eyeshadows

Pink Opal
This is a lavender shade, again I probably wouldn't use this on it's own but rather as a base for a purple eye.

Max Factor Excess Shimmer Eyeshadows

I love this shade for either use on it's own, as a daytime look or layered underneath Bronze (below) for a night out. 

Max Factor Excess Shimmer Eyeshadows

Just look at that pigment. I still can't get over it. I literally only have to get a tiny hint of this on my finger to blend onto my eyelid and my whole eye is practically covered. It's seriously full on. Love it.

Max Factor Excess Shimmer Eyeshadows

I use this fella for nights out only really. Generally, I'll blend this into either copper or bronze (sometimes I use all three, just to be a rebel, like) and again, I only need a hint of this for major pigment across the lid. Its powerful stuff but just look at the depth of colour in it- it's a stunner. 

Here's my favourite combination:

That's Copper and Bronze together. If you wanted a more dramatic look, you could layer a wash of Onyx over the top, a flick of liquid liner and lots of mascara. I find wear time on these to be pretty good. They claim to last 12 hours and I'd agree with that- when I remove my eye make up at the end of a 13 hour shift there's still eyeshadow coming away on the cotton wool. I don't have a huge issue with oily lids so I don't use a primer. I would be interested to see how these hold up for those who normally need a lid primer though.

These fellas are €9.99 each, which seems like a lot for a single pot of eye shadow but they will last you a fair old whack of time and considering you need only two for a perfect eye look, that's really quite economical! Another thing I like is that they all come with a safety seal that you can re-seal after opening which definitely helps to keep the product fresh and last longer. 
You can find these in Boots and selected pharmacies nationwide.

Have you tried Max Factor's new Excess Shimmers?

*Indicates these products were sent to me for review. As always, all opinions are my own. For further information, you can read my disclaimer located under "About".

Sunday 21 December 2014

Irish Beauty Bloggers Secret Santa 2014: The Big Reveal!

I missed the deadline to take part in the Irish beauty bloggers secret santa last year so I made a point of signing up quick smart this year! Amazingly well organised by the lovely Aisling from Total Make Up Addict, there's over fifty bloggers involved this year and so we've all bought and sent a present we've picked out specifically for the blogger we were matched with. It had to be sent by the 5th of December and we're all revealing our gifts today! Yay! If that doesn't make everyone feel suitably festive, I don't know what will.

My present arrived in this very cute wrapping paper with a lovely card. I do so love a Christmas themed woodland animal. 

The first thing I saw once I had unwrapped was this fella. I've wanted one of these bags for ages now but hadn't actually found one I could buy anywhere so I'm absolutely thrilled with this. Turquoise is one of my all time favourite colours and if you know me at all or you read this blog then you'll understand that I love anything kitsch. If it has a cute animal face on it, then I want it and I'll most likely be wearing it shortly after seeing it. This has an across body strap which is an essential for me in a bag and is ridiculously adorable to boot. Look at his little ears! 

Inside the fox was a selection of Japanese BB creams and skin samples:

I can't wait to start using these, I haven't tried any of these brands and Asian cosmetics are something I want to get into this year.
Next up, there was; Missha- a full size Japanese BB cream, Catrice nail polish in Alluring Red, Etude House Sweet Recipe Candy Stick lip balm and an Essence eyeliner pencil from the Christmas collection in Naughty Or Nice?:

I already have the nail polish on my toes (it's very festive), I'm planning an eye make up look with that pencil and I'm loving the BB cream- it provides an incredible finish to the skin (full review next year!). I'm mostly just staring at how pretty the lip balm is but I will also start using that too!

Lastly and amazingly, was this badge:

Best. Badge. Ever.

I have absolutely no idea who my secret Santa is as there was no name on the card so if you're reading this and it's you, please let me know in the comments and thank you so much- you've picked the most perfect gifts for me and I love them all!

Monday 15 December 2014

The InStyler | Results & Impressions

I was sent the InStyler a while back to review and have been getting to grips with it since then. I like to give hair tools a really good trial because it usually takes me a bit longer than your average bear to get the hang of them properly and I like to make sure I'm giving a thorough review of the product. So here goes. 
InStyler review
The InStyler is a rotating, heated styling and straightening tool with a polishing cylinder and opposite to that, a heated panel surrounded by four rows of bristles. 

InStyler review

There are some great protective additions- a thermal shield that you can snap into place until the barrel has cooled down so you don't burn yourself and a heat proof bag/mat for travel and use on any surface. I particularly love that last one. I have some awful stories I could tell you about various parts of my body I've burnt by sitting on curling tongs (I know, I'm an idiot, apparently) and of course surfaces I've marked by leaving hot hair tools down on them. Doh! This is a smart and very useful extra. The InStyler also uses less heat than your average hair tool, which is also pretty remarkable as it does the job and still feels roasting.

InStyler review

Starting off, you plug it in and set it to one of three heat settings- the lowest (one bar) heats to 140C is ideal for thin, fine hair. The medium setting (two bars, 157C) is for thin to medium textured hair while the highest (three bars, 196C) is ideal for thick, coarse hair. 

The lights flash until it's heated and you're away. It's recommended you section off your hair and start with the hair that's underneath, which I did (just not in the photo below). 

When straightening, you position the InStyler with the heated barrel next to the scalp and run it down the section of your hair- the bristles sort and separate the strands of hair while the barrel polishes and straightens. 
I really like it for this purpose. I never really love the effect of a traditional straightener- I feel like they flatten my hair and leave it looking a bit stiff and unnatural, especially where my side fringe is concerned. The InStyler however seems to just smooth my hair and add volume but doesn't leave me with creepily poker straight hair, like a straightener would, which is a bit too 90's for my liking. This is a life saver in the mornings, especially when I've washed my hair the night before. I usually wake up looking like I've slept with a cat on my head but I run this fella over my hair and I look a bit more pulled-together. A minute's work and I'm out the door. Good times!

InStyler review
My hair is not natural curly by the way, I apparently do that in my sleep..

I've also tried it out for curls. For this you once again keep the barrel towards the scalp and wrap the piece of hair around the barrel from roots to end while holding the end of the hair and preventing the bristles from closing down. This part takes a fair bit of practice to get right and if like me, you're not hugely adept at all things hair related this may prove tricky for you. Using a regular curling tongs is certainly more straight forward but you can get to grips with this with plenty of use. It's not the best option for when you're running late though. My hair tends not to hold a curl very well as it's fairly thin and it was no different with the InStyler. The curls all fell pretty fast but I will say that what I was left with was an impressively volumised head of hair so there was still a good outcome! I've tried curls a few times now with the same result but I also lent this to a friend (hi Ciara!) who loved it and found it worked perfectly for her, so this is one of those ones that you need to do your research on- if you know your hair curls well ordinarily this may be a good option for you but if like me, curls don't last well with your hair type, this may not make a difference for you. 

InStyler review

So it's one and a half thumbs up only (not sure how that works) from me- I really like this for adding volume and straightening but I didn't love it as much when it came to curling. This is also pricey enough at €120 (HERE on the InStyler website) but the good news is that you can find it HERE on the site for only €84.99!! That's a brilliant bargain, especially if you don't want to wait for Santa to bring it for you!

Have you tried the InStyler? What did you think? If not, is it on your wish list?

Sunday 14 December 2014

Soap & Glory: The Next Big Thing

If you follow me on, well, all social platforms you'll have spotted that I picked up the much sought after Soap & Glory limited edition gift set- The Next Big Thing, released for Christmas
This is reduced in Boots for one week only, until Thursday. It's better than half price at a remarkable €37!!

Inside you'll find all full sized products of typically gloriously scented S& G products:


It comes in two different boxes, both designed by someone called Hattie Stewart, who I haven't heard of but they are pretty containers and will be great for storage. 
So far I've just been sticking my head into everything and inhaling deeply. Hot damn, do they all smell good.

If you want it, get it now because these WILL sell out (it's already sold out online) and if you do pick it up, you'll be sorted for the next year for all shower and body products. I didn't get it last year and have regretted it since so I made sure I didn't miss out this time! Are you a Soap & Glory fan? What's your favourite product from them?

Friday 12 December 2014

Book Gift Guide Christmas 2014!

Apologies this is so late, I've been super tired from work lately and have mostly just been lounging in my bright blue cookie monster onesie most (for "most" see: every) evenings, rather than writing this. Hopefully it'll still be in time to give you ideas for Christmas presents and to be fair, you've got a good week and a half to get your last few bought and wrapped! I've read some of these and also bought some as presents too so hopefully there's plenty of good'uns in here!

This past year has seen the release of lots of great autobiographies and memoirs and you can't really go wrong with these as gifts as they're not really specific genres as such, so are suited to most people's taste.

This is one I'm really looking forward to reading, being both a fan of TV show Girls and its writer/star, Lena Dunham. Not That Kind Of Girl is stories from the actresses life to date. It has courted quite a bit of controversy this year but it wouldn't be Lena Dunham if it didn't. 
Buy for: feminists with a fondness for pop culture.

Beloved rugby superstar Brian O'Driscoll released his much anticipated autobiography, The Test this year and promises to be an interesting look at his stellar career to date. 
Buy for: lovers of rugby and eh, any Irish person really.

I read and reviewed Yes Please by the marvellous Amy Poehler HERE and gave it two enthusiastic thumbs up. We're treated to Poehler's memories of childhood, adolescence, her burgeoning career as a stand-up comedian and then as a star of SNL and Parks and Rec. It's humorous but also honest and emotive. 
Buy for: anyone who loves unapologetically kick-ass female comedians. 

Roy Keane's autobiography, The Second Half, ghost written by Roddy Doyle is apparently a brutally honest, amusing and self-deprecating look at the life and career of the hot-headed footballer. 
Buy for: sports fans who enjoy a bit of controversy.

Alan Cumming as Eli Gold is one of my most favourite TV characters around at the minute and his autobiography Not My Father's Son sounds really interesting. In his book, he seeks to find an explanation for his grandfather's mysterious death…intriguing, eh?! 
Buy for: fans of the sharp witted actor and a good tale.

Rory O'Neill/Pantibliss spent a lot of time in the news this year, following the frankly outstanding, Noble Call in the Abbey Theatre. Now you can read Panti's memoir, Woman In the Making and learn about growing up in an oppressive Ireland and going through a painful adolescence to become the iconic woman she is today. 
Buy for: fans of Panti and of Dublin itself (this is apparently a bit of a love letter to the city).

The Life and Loves of a He Devil by Graham Norton chronicles the comedian's rise to fame that has been described as honest, witty, revelatory and engaging. 
Buy for: fans of the Cork natives hugely popular chat show.

Actor Cary Elwes brings us his first person behind-the-scenes account of cult classic film The Princess bride in this book, As you Wish: Inconceivable Tales From The Making of The Princess Bride. Buy for: Fans of the AMAZING film, naturally!


Stephen King's Revival came out a couple of months ago and is both a thriller and a horror. I have this one on audible, all ready to go. Here King does what he does best; juxtaposes ordinary suburban life with addiction, religion and parallel worlds. 
Buy for: fans of the master of horror.

Speaking of Stephen King, during the year he announced that Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes is the scariest book he's read this year and apparently it is rather terrifying. Eep! I'm reading one of her others at the minute and so far it is certainly unsettling. 
Buy for: hardcore horror lovers. If Mr King recommends it, you best believe you need to read it.

My mammy-in-law bought me the Farm by Tom Rob Smith a few months back and I've as yet to read it. Doh! This is apparently a slow burner that starts of with a mother telling her son of a terrible crime his father and other men in the community may have taken part in. Daniel (the son) has to uncover the truth of what really happened. 
Buy for: fans of Scandinavian thrillers (it's set partly in Sweden). 

Daughter by Jane Shemilt has been fairly hyped up of late so it's hard to know how good it actually is but it does sound pretty promising. Jenny discovers her daughter Naomi is missing but starts to realise that she doesn't know her as well as she thought she did. 
Buy for: lovers of mysteries like Sister by Rosamund Lipton.

With the release of Gone Girl on film this year, the book has remained on top of bestsellers lists and now you can buy all three of Gillian Flynn's rather brilliant thrillers in a box set (just in case there's anyone that's been living under a rock and has read none of them). I personally think Sharp Objects is actually better than Gone Girl so this is a great present. 
Buy for: anyone who enjoys unusual thrillers with dark female protagonists.

The Secret Place by Tana French is the fifth novel from this Irish author and follows in a similar vein to the others in that it involves the fictional Dublin murder squad and an unsolved homicide. 
Buy for: lovers of impossible to figure out murder mysteries with an Irish vibe.

General Good Reads:
There's so many I could've picked for this. It was such a great year for books but I've had to narrow it down.

Ian McEwan has always been a firm favourite of mine and I can't wait to read his latest, The Children Act (which I own and shamefully haven't read yet!). 
Buy for: The person who likes modern classics like Atonement. 

A book about love, war and death, The Narrow Road to the Deep South by Richard Flanagan won this years Man Booker Prize
Buy for: The person that enjoys a more serious read.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell is set in 1984 and follows Holly, a teenage runaway through strange occurrences like time travel, precognition and even murder. 
Buy for: the science fiction and fantasy lover. And eh, anyone who loves a beautiful book cover. Damn, that thing is fine.

Set in 1960's Ireland, Nora Webster is rebuilding her life following the death of her husband by finding solace through music and friendship. Sounds like another beauty from Colm Toibin
Buy for: The person who loves historical fiction with heart.

I read and reviewed the latest from Marian Keyes HERE. The Woman Who Stole My Life is an engaging read about Stella, a survivor of a rare medical condition who writes a book and tries to find new love. 
Buy for: anyone who loves romantic comedy with an edge.

David Nicholls is back with Us, a funny but poignant story of a marriage in trouble. 
Buy for: Anyone who loved One Day and wept like a big baby when they finished it. Not referring to myself there at all. Ahem.

I also read and reviewed How To Be A Girl by Caitlin Moran HERE and really enjoyed it. It is slightly more memoir than it is fiction but it's entertaining, cringe-worthy and affecting at the same time. Buy for: the outspoken feminist in your life who appreciates some oddly specific sex tips. 

Pretty Honest by beauty journalist Sali Hughes is high on my list and I'm reliably informed I will be opening it on Christmas morning. Yay! Hughes provides twenty years of expertise and advice on all things beauty- this is supposedly a great read told from a funny, feminist perspective. 
Buy for: Beauty lovers who like a bit of a bite to their reading material.

Children's Books:

I love the sound of Roddy Doyle's Brilliant, in which two kids overhear that their uncle has a "black dog" on his back after losing his job. They decide to hunt down the black dog and get rid of it but they soon discover lots of other children in Dublin are hunting him down too as the adults in their lives are affected by him as well. 
Buy for: an older child with an inquisitive nature who you think is ready to learn about the reality behind depression and mental illness.

Everyone loves Moone Boy, am I right? The book based on the TV show by Chris O'Dowd and Nick V Murphy is bound to be a winner this Christmas. 
Buy for: fans of the brilliant and hilarious program of the same name.

I loved B.J. Novak's One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories (a book for adults) and The Book With No Pictures (written for much smaller peeps!) has been hugely successful this year. 
Buy for: little'uns with big imaginations and adults who have no problem making fools out of themselves by making crazy sounds.

And that's your lot! Any of these making your own wish list? Have you bought any books as presents this year? To the comments!

Friday 5 December 2014

Recently Read: November

I thought I had read more last month but apparently not. 
What I did read though, I really enjoyed.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Like a lot of people, I'm a big fan of Amy Poehler. I love Parks and Rec and her many appearances in other TV shows/films so I was greatly anticipating this autobiography. I got this on audible and like other autobiographies, I think this works really well via that medium. It's read by the woman herself with guest appearances by her own parents, her co-stars from Saturday night Live and Kathleen Turner and Patrick Stewart. This differs from similar books by Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling in that Yes Please is really a much more in-depth look at Poehler's life, from her childhood and teenage years to her early days in standup and how she built her career, rather than just a vehicle for jokes. Her marriage to Will Arnett and the birth of their two children are also discussed along with various lessons she's learnt throughout her life- these are at times embarrassing and often don't reflect well on her but it felt all the more realistic for their inclusion. Like the big sap that I am, I cried at a couple of different parts (because I can't read any book without crying apparently. Give me an Argos catalogue and I'll find something to weep over) and I certainly laughed out loud several times too. That said, this isn't a traditionally humorous book, so if you're expecting a laugh a minute then you'll be disappointed. I have confirmed from reading this that I want to be Amy Poehler when I grow up though (let's all ignore the fact that I'm 30). She literally has zero Fucks to give and that is so refreshing. When recounting the story of how a man she was working with kept refusing to take her answer of 'no' seriously, she quotes from Gavin de Becker's book "The Gift of Fear", which I read  last year and like Amy, resonated with me too. Basically de Becker says that 'no' should be the end of the conversation, whereas some men think it's the beginning of bargaining. Amy's wise to that and puts this guy straight. Also included is one of my (now) favourite quotes ever:
"Asking me to smile or relax is like bringing a birthday cake into an ape sanctuary. You're just asking to have your nose and genitals bitten off".
G'wan Amy. 

How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran
Having loved How to be a Woman, I was all over this when it was published. In fact, I even went to see Moran doing a live reading in Dublin AND got myself a signed copy (plus an I Am A Feminist t-shirt, which may be one of my most favourite things ever). Unlike the aforementioned book, this one is a work of fiction…kind of. It is very loosely based on parts of Moran's own life- her poor upbringing in a large family in working class 1980's Britain, her teenage angsts (being overweight and desire to lose her virginity) and her career as a music journalist at the tender age of nineteen. The literary version of herself in the book, Johanna Morrigan, reinvents herself by leaving school, listening to all the music she can get her hands on, getting a job at a snide music review magazine, having sex with as many people as possible and overall, creating an image of the person that she thinks she should be. In spite of the fact that I found the beginning a bit slow and that parts of it were familiar from Moran's previous work, I still really enjoyed this book. It manages to be poignant, hilarious and cringe-inducing simultaneously and although she finds herself in some unusual situations, I think there's something in Johanna's story that everyone who was once a teenage girl can relate to. 

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
This is a YA novel about teenager Mia, a musically gifted young woman who has been struggling with a decision- whether to take a place in prestigious college Juilliard or stay with her boyfriend Adam whom she loves deeply. That is until she's involved in a devastating road traffic accident and now must decide whether or not to return from the brink of death. From the accident onwards, the book is told from the perspective of an in-limbo Mia; she can see herself being worked on by surgeons but can't feel anything. She can hear what's said to her by the nurses and her loved ones around her ICU bed but she can't communicate back. And although she doesn't know why this is happening she begins to realise that the biggest decision she'll ever have to make- whether or not to stay alive and to keep trying has been left with her. You can be sure I cried my eyes out at this one. I sobbed, actually. Himself tried to take the book away from me at one stage, I was so distraught. If that's your type of thing then this isn't a bad read at all. It's a little simplistic at times but I thought it was an interesting perspective on what makes us human and what keeps us alive. I may yet watch the film version…I'm not sure my poor emotions can take it though.

Nightingales On Call by Donna Douglas
It's now 1937 and the Nightingale student nurses are finishing up their training. We meet some new students and as with previous books in the series, we learn more about what makes the current characters tick. This one was only released this year so I have none left to read (other than a Christmas special) although I'm sure there'll be another one as it's getting closer to WW2 and there's a pretty big hint at the end of the book that they'll all be back working in the hospital again. Yay!

Have you read any of these? Reading anything good at the moment?

Monday 1 December 2014

Get A Free Book!

How are yiz?! Want a new book but don't wan't to pay for it? I know, right- that's living the dream right there. 
To celebrate the publication of A Box Of Pleasures (a box set containing all four of best selling Irish author Evie Hunter's Pleasures series), you can get yourself a free digital copy of Evie's debut novel, The Pleasures Of Winter
I haven't read it myself yet but I have it in my to-be-read list (which is to date, painfully long). 

Big thanks to Penguin Ireland for this very kind offer; it's nice to get a little treat for yourself in the run up to Christmas, isn't it?

Thursday 27 November 2014

Blink & Wink: A Beauty Retreat In The Heart Of Dublin City

Last week I was contacted by Blink & Wink, a new beauty salon on Dawson St to pop in store to try out one of their treatments for myself. Although they offer eyebrow threading, waxing, tweezing and tinting as well as lash extensions, I opted to try a facial from their Novexpert range. 

If you saw my recent post where I was in search for a new Winter moisturiser, you'll know my skin has been dry of late and in need of a pick me up. My lovely beauty therapist Ramona talked me through the different facials they offer and explained that although there are three set options on their menu, they tailor each according to the client's skin type or needs. I really appreciated that- often times I've opted for a treatment that may not have been 100% suited to me but had to go with what was available, I prefer this bespoke approach to each treatment. It makes more sense. 

Next, Ramona assessed my skin and based on that, began my treatment; a mixture of the Repulp mask plus added Vitamin C from the Novexpert range. My eye make-up was carefully removed (impressively so actually- I'm giving Benefit's They're Real Liner another go and that is a pain to take off), cleanser was applied and massaged in. Following that, an AMAZINGLY scented exfoliator was used, which I thought was cherries-scented but is apparently raspberries. Yum. That felt gentle on my skin but was working to smooth and resurface. Once my skin was thoroughly cleansed, the repulping mask was then applied and left for a few minutes. 

The room was peaceful with a relaxing atmosphere and on a side note- Ramona has the most soothing voice ever. She should go into business making those tapes that help you get to sleep. Coming back to reality; after the mask was removed, toner, moisturiser and eye cream were applied. 

My immediate first impressions afterwards were: 
1) My skin no longer had that tight feeling it had previously. I tried squishing my forehead together to see if I could feel it but no, gone! Hurrah! 
2) My skin looked…better. Healthier, with a bit of a glow and more plumped up. I couldn't stop looking at it in the mirror when I got home, which sounds a bit egomaniacal but it was just nice to see my own face looking so well. It was a subtle difference but definitely noticeable to me. Each facial on the menu is designed to target a specific problem, rather than be purely for the sake of relaxation, as some spa treatments often are. My problem was that I needed to rehydrate my skin and that was definitely achieved, with the added bonus of leaving me relaxed and stress-free.
3) I really liked the products used. Novexpert are a French skincare brand created by a team of doctors and because of that their products are based on medical research, are suitable for sensitive skin and long term use. Their anti-ageing range is unisex and certified 100% natural in origin. And again, they smell amazing. I need to get my hands on the Vitamin C exfoliator and serum- I think they suit my skin type well.

The Cosmetics 27 range (last photo) is for more mature skin. You can also buy the Novexpert products in gift wrapped sets if you're looking for a good Christmas present for the skincare fiend in your life!

4) I thought the pricing was really very reasonable. All of their treatments (bar the eyelash extensions) are approx. 30 minutes long, the idea being that you can nip in on your lunch hour, get a quick pick-me-up and still have time for a sandwich afterwards. I LOVE that idea and if I had a job where I actually got an hour for my lunch break, I'd be all over that. Alas, I do not. That aside, the facials range from 30-45 euro, which is incredibly competitive based on similar salon prices.
5) I also loved the decor. The salon is small but compact and gives an air of luxury that is very welcoming. 

I really enjoyed my experience in Blink & Wink and I will definitely be back. I have my eye (pun intended) on the semi-permanent lash extensions as a treat in the new year and I will be needing another fab facial as well. You can check out more from Blink & Wink on their Facebook page HERE

Does the idea of a quick skincare treat appeal to you? Something to help keep your skin in tip-top shape on the run up to Christmas perhaps?