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Friday 31 January 2014

Dior Nail Glow | Review

Tired of horrible, stained nails? Wish you had nice, healthy looking talons that didn't cause people to recoil in horror every time they see your hands? If you answered yes to either of those questions then this blog post is for you..and you probably need to view things in a less dramatic fashion if the latter was particularly relevant to you. Just saying.
Even though I always use a base coat, a Sally Hansen polish left me with really badly stained nails. I've tried everything to sort them out, to no avail and so I finally gave in and picked up a bottle of Dior Nail Glow, a nail enhancer that gives nails a shiny, healthy glow. The general idea is that it makes the pink of your nails pinker and the white whiter. 

Dior Nail Glow

Prepare your eyes for my horrid bare nails:
Dior Nail Glow
But look how pretty they are afterwards!! They definitely look shinier, more pink, healthy and bright looking. For me this is the perfect way to get well-manicured nails without actually getting a full on manicure, which is kind of ideal for me for work. It's also easy to apply and has good lasting power. 

Dior Nail Glow

This little bottle of pink loveliness will set you back €23.50, it's available at all Dior counters and there's a matching lip product, if you want to be extra fancy!
Is this something you'd be interested in?

Thursday 30 January 2014

Battle of The Hair Oils: Kerastase v's L'Oreal Elvive

I thought I'd do a compare and contrast on these two hair oils; L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil mist and Kerastase Elixir Ultime. I'm about half way through the L'Oreal and I've finished the Kerastase so I thought now was as good a time as any.

L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil Mist
This is a dry oil mist for fine hair, enriched with lotus flower extract for "luxurious shine, flowing softness and a weightless finish". This is for use through the length and ends of wet or dry hair. I just use it on the ends of my hair when wet. It smells lovely, absorbs fairly quickly and when used in limited amounts, can be very effective. I say that because there can be the temptation to over-spray this which really weighs my fine hair down. Otherwise, I do like this, I just don't prefer it to the Kerastase. I bought the L'Oreal cause it was on offer in Boots for about €8 for 100mls and I couldn't afford it's more expensive counterpart up there. It'll do for now but when I have the moolah again I'll be trying something a bit more like...

Kerastase Elixir Ultime
Containing four precious oils, this is definitely a thicker formula- recommended use is 1-2 drops into your hand and smoothed over the ends of wet or dry hair. This is also fairly versatile, you can use it in a number of ways; as a luxurious pre-wash treatment, pre blow-dry to nourish, protect and add shine, as a finishing product to reduce flyways or as an intensive leave-in conditioner. I definitely miss using this, I found it worked really well for me and never weighed my hair down or left it greasy.
This is obviously much more pricey at around the €34 mark for 125mls. Having said that, it lasted me for about a year and a half so it was well worth it in the end.

Both smell lovely and work well in their own ways but I would recommend the Kerastase over the L'Oreal for sure. I also have my eye on the somewhat newer Kerastase Elixir Ultime for fine/sensitive hair.
Have you used either of these? Are hair oils your thing?

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Is Beyonce a Confused Feminist??

I've seen a fair amount of hand-wringing and pearl clutching over the Beyonce/Jay-Z GRAMMY's performance and how "anti-feminist" it apparently was and so I felt the need to look into it a bit more closely myself. I tend to view everything through a feminist lens and am usually the first person to declare something misogynistic but I watched the video and I've seen the photos and for me, it really was just a slick, well-rehearsed performance by two professionals who appear to also be a very loved-up couple. It seems a lot of people felt it was an uneven performance because Beyonce was dressed in fairly minimal attire while her husband was fully suited and did considerably less writhing around the stage than his missus. 

Yes, this is tiresome and by that token, nothing new. The same people were only recently applauding Ms Knowles for her strongly pro-feminist album release in December even though she wears similarly minimal clothing in the artwork and videos for that album. So it seems to be the presence of a male counterpart with the combination of her outfit that's bothering people in this scenario.
If this was the video for Blurred Lines, I would be agreeing wholeheartedly. That was a whole mess of misogyny; the lyrics, fully clothed men surrounded by women who were either naked or scantily-clad and treated as props was frankly, stomach-churning. However, for me, the crucial difference is that Beyonce is most definitely not a prop here. She's not a backing-singer, a dancer or stage-decoration for Jay-Z. She comes out singing her own song, in control. If anything, Jay-Z is providing back-up for her. It's just a very different power dynamic. How Beyonce chooses to express herself visually is surely up to her and if you think about it, this is how she always dresses on stage and in her videos and always has, since her Destiny's Child days. So is it just the fact that Jay-Z was present and chose to wear a suit that is irksome? Would you rather she had worn more or he had worn less? I'm genuinely asking, not being facetious here at all! 
To clarify, I'm not advocating the hyper-sexualisation of female pop stars by any means. I was one of the many people left disturbed by the Miley Cyrus VMA performance last year but that was purely because I felt concern for her; she seemed a bit dazed and most definitely not in control of the situation. That sounds incredibly patronising I know, but it's how I felt. I've seen countless Madonna performances with similar shock tactic outfits/dance moves but they didn't leave me feeling uncomfortable in the way Miley's did. And I certainly didn't feel that way either when I watched Beyonce yesterday.
Look, I'm not the world's number one Beyonce fan so this isn't coming from a place of blind allegiance to her but I generally have a fairly good gut-instinct when it comes to these things and "anti-feminist" really did not spring to mind when I watched the video of their performance.
I guess what I'm really wondering is, can someone only be considered a feminist if they adhere strictly to what you personally associate with the word? Or can the individual alter it to suit their own interpretation? As far as I'm aware, there are many different definitions of feminism floating around and so I feel uneasy about judging anyone's feminist credentials because of that.
I could well be completely off the mark here though, so please let me know in the comments if you disagree with my interpretation and you think there's something a bit askew here.

Sunday 26 January 2014

What Not To Say To A Sick Person

Before I start I'll point out that I'm writing this from the perspective of someone who has been unwell, rather than from that of a nurse. I could easily do both but I don't talk about my job here (and before you say it, yes I know that seems odd given the title of the blog but in the immortal words of Cher from Clueless: Whatever).

This is for anyone out there who knows someone or has any (no matter how fleeting) contact with someone who has a chronic illness. A brief guide, or a "how to" if you will.

I'm basing all of this on my own experiences and from others in similar circumstances that I've spoken to. Although I know people mean well, it can often be hard to know what to say in certain situations, particularly when someone is very unwell and so I hope this will be useful and will be taken in the spirit it is intended.

1) Try to understand when someone with a chronic illness cancels at the last minute. I know it's really frustrating and it messes up your plans but stop and think why they can't make it. I hate cancelling anything, it leaves me wracked with guilt and worry about how the other person must feel, something that is magnified if it appears they are annoyed at being let down. The last thing a sick person needs is to feel worse, am I right?! So go easy, take a deep breath and say "no worries, hope everything's OK".

2) That brings me nicely onto my next point. Text messages, emails and cards are all greatly appreciated when you're unwell. It's positively heart warming to know people are thinking of you and wishing you well and it's a lovely thing to do for someone. Another thing that's nice is to just text someone and say "I'm sorry to hear you're unwell, if there's anything I can do to help please let me know. There's no need to answer this, just wanted you to know I'm thinking of you". That right there says everything you need. I can't tell you how grateful I was to receive messages like that because it let me know the person cared but also that I was under no obligation to try and get the strength together to send back an explanatory text about how I was feeling (surprisingly difficult when you have no energy).

3) Try to respect a person's privacy and dignity. Personally, I don't have a huge problem with people asking me general questions about when I was sick, nor do I have an issue with talking about it. The difficulty for me arises when I'm asked extremely personal questions; I won't go into detail but a good rule of thumb is to stop and think before you ask if you'd be uncomfortable being asked the same question or is it appropriate given the surroundings/circumstances. 

4) It's very well meant when people say "but you don't look ill at look grand!". I know that's meant as a compliment but several people I've spoken to have said that they bridled when they heard this said to them when very unwell. Almost as if you now feel like you have to prove you are in fact ill or even worse, that you wished you were as well as you looked and not suffering on the inside. Being reminded of that isn't always helpful. On the flip side of that, telling someone they look brutal is also a bad idea. I know, you can't win, eh? Except maybe just to say "you look great" and leave it at that.

5) As valid as I think other people's faith is, I don't think it's ever appropriate to express to someone that "If you trust in God, you will get better" etc. You don't know anyones stance on religion, some people balk at it completely and being told that with the help of what you consider to be an imaginary deity, everything will be fine, could be quite frustrating. Lighting candles or praying for someone on the other hand, is a great idea. The difference being that you are sending out positive thoughts for that person and again, it's comforting to know you're in that person's thoughts..somehow it seems a bit more tangible. I'm all for an old prayer and a candle, so I am.

6) Advising someone who is unwell about what they should and shouldn't do as a "sick person" is incredibly annoying to be honest. Guaranteed, the person you're saying it to will know much more about their own condition and what they're capable of than you do, so again, maybe just think it through before saying it.

7) I can't count the amount of times someone said to me how lucky I was to be on sick leave and not have to go to work. For me, this was a real kick in the teeth (although again, I know it's just an attempt to look on the bright side), I love my job and found being stuck at home ill really very upsetting and at times, soul destroying. Basically, if someone is off work voluntarily (on sabbatical etc) and is happy about it then sure, work away and say the above. Being on sick leave on the other hand really is not a positive, so tread carefully.

8) And lastly, although I know I said I wouldn't go back to my nursing knowledge here, I would like to just touch on one very important point that I think is relevant to everyone. In college we are taught all about Holism (I'm giving it a capital H to emphasise the importance) which basically means that you treat the individual as a "whole" person, i.e not just physically but emotionally, mentally, spiritually and socially. You do not just view them as their illness, they are not just the sum of their parts, if you will. I think this is vital to be honest. People who have a chronic illness are weary of being ill, they're tired of being associated with that illness and would like to be considered as themselves rather than "diabetes" or "cancer" or "cardiac disease" or whatever. How you can apply this in real life if you're not a health care professional, is to talk about things other than how that person is feeling, you should of course ask and I'm sure that would be appreciated but there's no need to dwell on the minutiae of someones health. Believe me, sometimes you just get sick of talking about it and would like to be asked about the latest book you read instead. I generally found this only ever happened to me with people that I didn't know particularly well, at social functions etc. I understand that people are stuck for things to say and often it's felt that it shows interest to ask people personal questions about their lives. That's completely fair enough but again, from experience, if I'm at a social event, I really do not want to be discussing surgery that I had to have. You can take it as a given that it isn't a pleasant topic of conversation for anyone, unless of course the person you're talking to was the surgeon involved and they did a particularly spiffy job, in which case; high five!

That's all I can think of right now and if you stuck with me to the end, then I appreciate it. I hope this was in some way helpful and I'd just like to reiterate, that concern for another human being is always appreciated, I just wanted to share a few tips I've picked up along the way. We're all guilty of not getting things perfectly right all the time and that's OK too but I suppose being mindful of the mental strain that having a chronic illness can leave a person with is important and trying not to add to that is just common sense.

Please let me know in the comments if there's anything you'd like to add to this list!

Friday 24 January 2014

Chanel Rouge Moire Le Vernis

Rouge Moire is a stunning medium-dark ruby red with a shimmer/metallic finish. Like all of Chanel's polishes, this is a unique shade that looks glossy and beautiful on the nail. 

Chanel Rouge Moire
Chanel Rouge Moire

With a good top coat I find Chanel polishes last up to a week. This is a classic red with a twist thanks to the metallic finish. I love the fact that it's quite a vintage shade but still manages to look bright and modern, super shiny and very, very pretty.


Thursday 23 January 2014

Beautiful Skincare From Origins

Origins are one of my all time favourite brands and their ginger range has a special place in my heart. The smell is like nothing else and since I used up my tub of ginger souffle I've been trying to use up all my other moisturisers so I can buy it again! Thankfully my sister gave me this lovely set for Christmas, containing the aforementioned Ginger Souffle, Ginger burst body Wash and the Incredible Spreadable Ginger Body Scrub

Origins ginger set

This set is the perfect antidote to a dull January morning; an invigorating, warming and comforting scent with seriously moisturising properties. Love.

I've also just used up sample sizes (thanks again, lovely Origins lady in House of Fraser!) of the Make A Difference serum and Starting Over age-erasing moisturiser, both of which I loved. These are the perfect combination for dry/dehydrated skin or anyone suffering with the cold weather. The serum is light and sinks in quickly with no greasiness but provides a real 'soft' feeling to the skin. The moisturiser is a little bit thicker but again, seemed to be just what my skin was waiting for because as soon as I applied it my skin lost that tight, dry feeling and felt instantly relieved. When I've run out of all the serums/moisturisers I'm currently trialling I'll definitely be picking these up! 
It's worth mentioning too that the staff at the Origins counter in House of Fraser Dundrum are excellent, I described my skin woes to the SA, she found the perfect products for me and I appreciate the fact that they provide generous samples (I got almost two weeks out of mine) so you can give it a proper try before handing over your moolah. 

Anyone else an Origins fan?

Tuesday 21 January 2014

The Warehouse Spring Collection is Lust-Worthy!

January is a horrible month though, isn't it? Saving the pennies, the weather is still bleak but with no more Christmas to look forward to. So then, a shot of colour in the form of the new Spring collections are just what the doctor (or the eh, nurse..ahem) ordered. I quite like high street store Warehouse because they produce well made clothing made from good quality materials at somewhat reasonable prices (I woudn't be buying from them all the time but they're nice as an odd treat. Otherwise, it's Penneys all the way!).
Here are my picks from the new Spring range, which features lots of muted florals, pastels, fine knits, oversized coats, bright yellows and roll-up jeans:

I really love yellow, generally I think mustard is a better shade for me skin-tone wise but I'm really drawn to this jumper, even though it's fairly neon. Luckily, various shades of yellow seem to be in for Spring so there's probably a shade to suit everyone.

Apparently there's flecks of neon running through the tweed in this, which is why it's not particularly visible in this photo. I love tweed and I'm really digging the oversized coats that are around at the moment.

Again, big fan of this colour and the shape of this dress is stylish and classic.
While I love florals, they can often be hard enough to wear throughout the year but I think this would work equally well in Summer with a pair of sparkly flats and in Winter with black tights and boots.
This light weight knit in a neutral shade will be perfect for that transition from the bitter cold to (hopefully) warmer weather and I also love those jeans.
This pansy print is gorgeous; pretty and fun and because of the colours it can again be worn with bare legs or black tights.

Anything catching your eye?

Saturday 18 January 2014

Sparkly Goodness From Tatty Devine & Accessorize

You might have noticed that I have a serious love for all things sparkly (not unlike a heavily bejewelled magpie) so I was happy as a clam on Christmas day to open these two beauties. 

Tatty Devine autumn leaves necklace

I've loved Tatty Devine for so long now but have somehow managed to own none of their gorgeous pieces. Autumn is my favourite time of year and one of the biggest reasons for that is of course, the stunning foliage in shades of orange, yellow, red and brown. So what could encompass that love better than this beautiful Autumn Leaves necklace. I can never decide which leaf is my favourite but I do love catching a glimpse of that gold glitter on the chain in between the other two. 
So very pretty and unique.

accessorize collar necklace

I also love Accessorize, in particular their collar necklaces. I don't see myself tiring of the statement necklace trend any time soon and the mix of pale pink stones with crystals in this vintage-style setting is a true classic that goes with pretty much everything I own. 

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Christmas Book Haul!

As always, my loved ones showered me with a fantastic selection of books this Christmas. For me, books make the best gifts so I was delighted to open this lot:

book haul
I've wanted to read some of these for ages so can't wait to get stuck in!
sylvia plath drawings
I'm a big Sylvia Plath fan and this book is just stunning!
the jolly Christmas postman

I should actually explain this one, I had been ranting on before Christmas about how much I used to love this book when I was small but didn't know where my copy had disappeared to so my husband went off and got me a new one! I loved opening it on Christmas morning and reminiscing, such a lovely gift! If you have kids too, this is such a gorgeous book, full of detail and little surprises on every page (there's a non-Christmas version too).

buffy the vampire slayer graphic novels

Lastly, knowing my extreme love for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, himself picked me up the first three graphic novels which follow on the story after the TV show ended in series seven. I've read the first one so far and love it!! It has the trademark Buffy wit (thanks to Joss Whedon for co-writing it!) and the characters are still as well drawn (if you'll excuse the pun). Love it!

Let me know in the comments if you got any books for Christmas and if so, which ones? (I'm nosey like that).

Monday 13 January 2014

My Winter Skincare Additions

Nippy out there, eh? By now a mixture of horrible cold winds, central heating and plastering on restorative make-up after festive nights out will mostly likely have taken it's toll on the poor old visage. Step forward this little lot, my current weapons of choice against the ravages of Winter. 

winter skin saviours

  1. La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Mains Hand Cream. LRP is well known for it's excellent skincare and the recent addition of this cicaplast hand cream has been a bit of a godsend for my poor phalanges, which tend to be dry at the best of times. This is my second tube of this and I'm almost finished! Boo. While this has a sort of Vaseline-esque consistency, it actually sinks in really quickly (as in, you can use your hands again 10 seconds later) with no greasiness or residue. I know you're probable wondering what sort of witchcraft went into the making of this and I wouldn't blame you. Try it!
  2. Vichy Idealia Life Serum. I use this under my moisturiser, pre-make up in the mornings because it contains a light pink pearlescence that provides the skin with a beautiful healthy glow. Again, this is light and sinks in easily and provides a good layer of protection for dry skin. Plus, it smells truly flowers...that you want to eat.
  3. I generally use my lush lip scrub in the evenings followed by the Nuxe Reve de Miel. I'm almost at the end of this and a new one will be purchased with haste when that eventually happens. Full review HERE.
  4. Hydraluron. This was made hugely popular after skincare guru Caroline Hirons said it was the one to go for if you have dry/dehydrated skin. Again, I'm almost finished this but I'm still not 100% sure about it. I feel like I won't be until I can compare it to my skin in its absence, hence why I haven't given it its own full review. Basically it's a clear gel that you apply to skin pre serum and moisturiser as it supposedly helps your moisturiser sink in properly and be absorbed by the skin because it contains wonder ingredient, Hyaluronic Acid.. Hmm. I just don't know!
  5. Another LRP product, this is the well loved Cicaplast Baume B5, which I believe is a total wonder product. I use this on dry skin; elbows and heels but also burns, and upset (but not broken) skin and it does the job every time! It's a fragrance-free soothing repairing balm and as that one is almost empty too, I'll be repurchasing soon!
Apologies for this basically turning into an empties post but at least I've managed to remind myself of what I need to put on my shopping list! 
Do you change your skincare up in the bad weather or are you lucky enough to be unaffected by the misery that is this weather?

Friday 10 January 2014

My Top 13 Beauty Products of 2013!

I've already shown you my Top 13 Books of 2013 and I'm now finally getting around to showing you what my favourite beauty products of the past year were too. To be honest, I could probably have gone for a top 15 or even a top 20 at a stretch but I held back! Thank the sweet lord says you, otherwise we'd have been here all the live-long day. Anyway, to the beauty goods:

Best beauty products 2013

  1. Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Balms. I feckin' love these things. I started off with Plum Russian (review HERE) and have since picked up Red Island too. Gorgeous shades, highly pigmented and soft on the lips. Plus, bargaintastic! 
  2. Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan. I've gone on about this stuff all year long but basically, it's changed how I look at self-tanner. Easy to apply, no streaks, long lasting and natural looking and again at a great price. Full review HERE.
  3. Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on eye pencil in Corrupt. I haven't actually reviewed this yet but since I bought it last month I've already used over a quarter of the pencil; it's taken over from my liquid eyeliner, which I practically never use anymore. This is a rich chocolate shade with a light shimmer that works perfectly with blue eyes. it's soft and smudges nicely but then stays put. Love it.
  4. Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer. Another one that I've been raving about but this is my official Holy grail concealer. Review HERE.
  5. YSL Babydoll Mascara. I'm a big fan of the original shocking mascara but gladly gave this fella a try this year instead. Review HERE.
  6. LRP Cicaplast Baume B5. This was an absolute skinsaver after a lengthy stint in hospital left me looking like an old crone. I now use it for everything; it is the perfect multitasking product and I firmly believe every home needs one! Mini review HERE.
  7. Eve Lom Cleanser. I love this stuff. A cleansing balm/oil hybrid, this thing feels like some sort of heaven on your face, like a mini spa treatment. Lovely stuff, although horribly expensive. Review HERE.
  8. Nars Voulez Vous Couchez Avec Moi, Ce Soir Palette. Oh Nars, you have a special place in my heart. Look at it there, gorgeous. I've used this every day since I got it (in November/December, I don't remember) and love it so very much. Two blushers and four eyeshadows make for the most perfect palette I've ever used. That's right, this is the one. I'll have a more gushing review up at some point in the not-to-distant future.
  9. Topshop Cream Blush in Head Over Heels. These things are deadly; gorgeous shades, easy to apply, well pigmented. Review HERE.
  10. Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm. Officially my favourite lip balm (for now at least), I've worn this every day this year and it's kept horrid dry lips at bay. Full review HERE.
  11. Clarins Lip Perfector Gloss. A gorgeous, glossy pink that softens the lips as well as making them look shiny and plump, this is a real gem of a product that I will definitely be buying more shades of. Full review HERE
  12. LRP Cicaplast Hands. I haven't reviewed this yet but I've been using this non stop for the past two months and am loving it. I'm already on to my second tube and it's helping both me and himself to keep our paws in good condition after hand washing/alcohol hand gel has taken its toll. It's non-greasy and sinks in immediately- something I look for in a good hand cream but rarely find.
  13. Trilogy Rosehip Oil. My skin tends to veer on the dehydrated side and this little beauty has been a godsend for me. I reviewed it in full HERE
And that's the lot! Let me know in the comments if you've tried any of these yourself and what would make your own list?

Thursday 9 January 2014

The Cleanse Off Mitt | Review

"Stop me if you've heard this one before" would also have been an apt title for this blog post as practically every Irish beauty blogger has been posting rave reviews of the Cleanse Off Mitt but I wanted to add in my two cents after using and loving it!

Cleanse Off Mitt

New to the Irish market, the cleanse off mitt is made of microfibre, is reusable and machine washable.  What makes this so innovative is that it requires no cleanser, you just run it under hot water and use it as you would a muslin cloth. Amazingly, it takes off every last scrap of make-up. Here it is after an average make-up day for me. Yes, I wear a lot of mascara. Don't judge!

Cleanse Off Mitt

I used this all over Christmas; when I've stayed with relatives away from home and didn't want to lug cleanser around with me and when I've gone on nights out with the full works- heavy eye make up, contouring, foundation, lipstick..everything! It worked for all levels of slap and is officially a miracle product! I make a point of always taking my make-up off and to be honest I rarely use cleansing wipes although there are plenty of times when I am just so tired all I want to do is fall into bed but I force myself to do the whole cleanse-tone-moisturise thing. Since the mitt came into my life I can indulge my laziness without compromising the condition of my skin so I'm recommending this to everyone! 

Cleanse Off Mitt

At the moment you can find the Cleanse Off Mitt online on for the bargain price of €5 and it will be coming to pharmacies soon. With regular use and washing, the life span of each mitt is three months and it has a little hoop on the bottom of it for hanging up to dry in between uses so is fairly practical. 
So basically, it's affordable, good for your skin, easy and quick to use, handy for travel or using in the gym and Irish made. What's not to love!
Have you tried the Cleanse Off Mitt yet?

*Press sample, gratefully received but all opinions my own, as always :)

Tuesday 7 January 2014

NOTD | Essie 'Miss Fancy Pants'

One of the best things about blogging is the wonderful friends you make; like-minded people who support you and equally, surprise you with acts of kindness. One of these people is the very lovely Sharon from Behind Green Eyes who sent me the most thoughtful and unexpected Christmas present of this rather beautiful Essie polish, Miss Fancy Pants (best name for a polish ever..although I may be slightly biased there!):

Essie Miss fancy pants

Essie are one of my all time favourite brands and this is just an absolute stunner of a polish. A grey creme that applies like a dream and lasted a full week without chips, this is a classy, grown-up shade that works with every outfit and suits every possible occasion. 

Essie Miss fancy pants

Plus, unlike some more "greige" shades, this actually compliments my super pasty skin tone perfectly and doesn't give me dreaded "cement" fingers. Basically, I love it. I've had several compliments about it, whereupon I have happily passed on the name of it because really, there's nothing cooler than a nail polish that sounds like it was made for you, am I right?

Essie Miss fancy pants

Being the legend that she is, Sharon also sent me this unbelievably awesome Buffy mug, as she shares my love for the show and remembered me going on about how cool this mug was when I saw it on her own blog. I'm both a mug and a BTVS fiend, so this really is ideal for me. 

Buffy the vampire slayer mug

Thanks again Sharon, you absolute star!

Monday 6 January 2014

Marilyn Monroe and Body Shaming

This evening, someone I know liked this image on Facebook, so it showed up in my timeline. As I had to be subjected to it I went onto Twitter where you're always sure of getting a discussion going and thankfully, many people agreed with my disgust. I said I'd pop it up here too to spread the word.

There's so many things wrong with this, I'm not even sure where to start but here goes. 
Firstly, anorexia? It's an eating disorder. An illness and not as this would suggest, a choice, like implants. Also, are we to take from this that these people somehow think that anorexia didn't exist before Marilyn's death? Really? That's kind of laughably stupid.

Secondly, what's with the body shaming? Yes, she was an attractive woman but does that have to mean that those who don't look like this are by extension, not "sexy"? What happened to beauty being in the eye of the beholder? This for me is just more of this "real women have curves" nonsense. Newsflash; real women can look like whatever they choose to and if you "liked" this picture then you probably just haven't thought of the repercussions for people seeing this who have an altered body image. Imagine for a second this was the other way around; a photo of Kate Moss back in the 90's with a comment shaming those who don't resemble that one particular body type? Would that be acceptable too? I'd sincerely hope not.

Lastly and depressingly, this thing has 88,414 likes. That means that all of those people deemed this to be a good message to be put out there, something they agreed with. Sure, some of the likes are men (I know this cause they've left some fairly predictable comments about what they'd do to Marilyn..if she wasn't dead for the past 50 years, of course) but an overwhelming amount are women. Seriously? I have to say I struggle with that mentality. Women really are their own worst enemy sometimes. Certainly, Marilyn Monroe was a beautiful woman and plenty would love to have her figure but in expressing that, do we also have to shame other women who don't have that body shape? What about the naturally thin or over weight?
Also, sorry to burst the bubble of whoever created this image, but Marilyn had plastic surgery, in fact she had an implant in her chin that gave her the illusion of perfect bone structure. There is of course, nothing wrong with this, each to their own. I just find it incredible that the person behind this image has such an extremely narrow ideal of what the "perfect" woman should look like that they've ignored the reality of the situation, popped an image of a well-loved movie-star up in order to get more traffic to their page and that so many people are completely oblivious to that. Women, I think need to start being a bit kinder to each other and while you may think "this is just a picture on facebook, get over it", well, I disagree. This sort of thing is actually really insidious and incredibly damaging in the long-term and personally, I'm getting weary of seeing it everywhere.

Anyway, end of rant. Let me know in the comments what you think. Am I being overly sensitive or do you agree that this just isn't acceptable in this day and age?

Saturday 4 January 2014

Amazon Kindle Book Sale..Go now, Buy! Buy! Buy!

I mentioned on twitter last night that Amazon are having a "12 Days of Kindle" book sale at the minute, with prices starting at 99p!! The offer ends the 5th of January, hence this rather urgent blog post!
Granted, I now have more books than I could shake a sizeable stick at but you'd be mad not to pick up a few titles at those crazy prices. 
I managed to get 7 books for the princely sum of €12, all of which I already had on my to-read list, so I'm delighted with that, mostly because sale shopping usually involves coming home with loads of random crap you didn't ever need to begin with and now have to somehow find room for in your already jam-packed apartment. Not this year! This year, my only sales shopping is this and I'm rather proud of myself for it too. Here's the books I went for:

In all honesty, I could actually still be on Amazon now buying more if I hadn't reigned myself in. There's a good selection there of books I've read and reviewed already and of those I'd recommend the following:

There's plenty more great titles there too, you just have to do a bit of sifting. Happy shopping! Let me know in the comments if you have any of these already or if you've availed of the kindle sale!

'ManhaTan', The New Irish Tanning App!

As you've probably noticed if you've been reading this blog for the last while, I am a big self-tanner convert. I used to love it when I was a teenager but grew to hate the hassle; the streaking, the smell, difficulty with removal and at times the orange tones from certain brands. I changed my mind with the arrival of Cocoa Brown last year and have been trying out a few other brands since then too. So I was happy to get the heads up about a new free app, ManhaTan, created by four Irish, tan-loving, transition-year students for their mini business project, launched last month. 

The purpose of the app is to provide information on leading tan brands, such as Sally Hansen, Wow Brown, Rimmel, Fake Bake, Garnier Ambre Solaire, St Tropez, Karora, Clarins and of course, Cocoa Brown. It gives you a list of tips for application, which formula to choose, prices, stockists and a map of nearby salons (currently Dublin only), where you can get a professional spray tan.
At the moment the app is only available for the iPad and iPhone but there are plans to expand it to android and also to display the salons where a spray tan is available across the whole country.
Personally, I think this is a very clever idea, I know self-tanner is one area that a lot of women struggle with and if you're new to it then it could be very helpful in finding not only the right product for you but in getting all possible help in order to get it perfect at home yourself.

What do we think? Is this something you'd use or recommend to others?

Friday 3 January 2014

Ciate Mini Mani Month Calendar | Review

If you follow me on Instagram or facebook then you'll have spotted my daily updates of my Ciate Advent calendar. I'd never tried a beauty calendar before but filled with the joys of Christmas this year and having a gift voucher made it much easier to go for it and to afford the €55 euro price tag. 
Containing 24 days worth of surprise nail polishes (19 mini 5ml polishes, 2 exclusive mini caviar blends, 2 mini glitter/sequins and 1 full size polish 13.5ml) this really was a lovely treat to wake up to every day and made the run up to Christmas even more special. Having a mini gift to open every day will do that, unsurprisingly!

I also loved the little quotes on the inside of each door, which I thought was a nice touch. There were two days where I felt the colours were very similar but other than that I was very pleased with the selection; glitters (my weakness), pastels and reds, all very much my type of thing.
I'm not a big fan of caviar blends and so I haven't even tried those but an unwanted two out of 24 isn't bad at all. Of the ones I have tried, application was good, the polish was chip-free for a week and the colours all looked beautifully glossy on the nail. These are well worth their price tag!

Would I get it next year? For sure! If there's a whole new range of shades (no point in getting the same ones again obviously!) and I can afford it/if some kind benefactor were to give me another gift voucher, then I'll be all over that! 

Did you get a beauty calendar this year? If so, what were your thoughts; gimmick or genius?!