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Tuesday 25 March 2014

Recently Viewed Part 1

I've seen a load of films since January and am only getting around to talking about them now...apologies! The first three were obviously all seen in the cinema and the last four were recent DVD releases. 
I've seen plenty more since then so I thought it'd be easier to just divide them up into different parts and start with the ones from January.

American Hustle
Sydney (Amy Adams) and Irving (Christian Bale) are two con artists working together, who also happen to be in love. Without giving too much away, they end up involved in a hustle with Bradley Cooper in charge which leads to hilarity, success and disaster in equal measure. Nominated for a rake of Oscars, this was hyped up a fair bit but I actually really enjoyed it. The characters were well developed, the storyline was exciting and the acting was brilliant. It was also really funny in parts, especially some of Bradley Cooper's scenes. If you're worried this may not be your sort of thing then you should see it anyway for the style, if nothing else. My god, Amy Adams. I could look at her in this all the live long day. Amazing. 

Anchorman 2
I loved the first Anchorman and can regularly be heard quoting "Milk was a bad choice", so I was really eager to see the second instalment of the ridiculous life of news anchor Ron Burgundy. Similar to the first film, there's lots of running gags, great cameos and bizarre subplots. While it seems slightly less together than the first film it is very funny and well worth a watch.

The Wolf Of Wall Street
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, a dodgy stockbroker with no ethics, who quickly becomes accustomed to a decadent lifestyle of money, drugs and beautiful women at his beck and call with little to no regard for the crimes he commits or people he destroys along the way. DiCaprio and Jonah Hill are both brilliant in this, as was Matthew McConaughey (in a very minor role) and it was very entertaining at times. It was also an arse-numbing three hours long. Look, I appreciate Martin Scorsese as much as the next person but he could seriously have done with editing a few of the same repetitive scenes. I'm specifically referring to all of Belfort's rousing speeches on the trading floor and of course the many, many scenes of naked women being degraded. Before you say it, yes, I understand that it's "of its time" and is depicting a particularly misogynistic period of American history but you know, just because something is historically accurate doesn't mean you need to hammer it home. We get it, it was decadent. I understand that Belfort did everything to excess and that was well expressed, a bit too well expressed for my liking, to the extent that it felt irresponsibly glorified. The fact that the film is based on the book written by the real Belfort means that him and his cronies are being celebrated in this film while their victims are barely alluded to. For me that feels wrong and more than just a little bit icky.

Behind The Candelabra
This true story of entertainer and pianist Liberace and the secret relationship he had with his young lover Scott, is at times bleak, darkly humorous and difficult to watch but mostly it's a fascinating look at the bizarre secret lives of celebrities. Both Michael Douglas and Matt Damon were excellent in this and although it's sad at times, it is also stylish and entertaining.

You're Next
I've been a long term fan of horrors but have avoided them a bit in the last year unless I've heard good things beforehand. You're next was critically acclaimed so we said we'd chance it and I'm really glad we did. The film centres on Erin who along with her boyfriend, is staying in a country house for the weekend with his family. What they don't realise is that there's a group of ruthless killers in creepy animal masks surrounding the house. From there it's basically all about survival, who's next and what horrible way are they going to be killed. This is more like my kind of horror because there's no awful torture scene, no one gets raped and at no point did I have to say "ah here!!" and turn it off. Also, Erin is pretty amazing and I rarely have cause to say that about a female character in a horror movie.

We're The Millers
We threw this on purely for something lighthearted to watch but we were both pleasantly surprised. The Millers are a pretend family comprised of weirdos, put together by low level drug dealer David. He needs to look wholesome to smuggle drugs from Mexico as a favour to his boss and so calls on a runaway and a neighbour to be his kids and Rose (Jennifer Aniston), a stripper, to be his wife. They obviously end up getting into a load of scrapes along the way but the film moves along at a nice pace. It's incredibly predictable but is entertaining nonetheless.

Drinking Buddies
This was actually a bit of an odd one. Kind of a romantic comedy that doesn't really go anywhere but in doing so is actually quite realistic and because of the cast, was enjoyable to watch. The two main characters are clearly perfect for each other but are both in relationships so it's kind of a "what's going to happen here" type of thing. I liked how it was shot and that it was a bit different from a lot of other films around at the moment so I'd definitely recommend giving it a go. 

Have you seen any of these? Any thoughts?

Monday 24 March 2014

Seventeen Cheek Stamp Blush

Budget brand Seventeen (Boots cheaper version of No7) has been coming out with some really good products lately. One of my favourite lip products last year was the Mirror Shine lipstick in Belle (review HERE) and being a blush addict I had to try out their new Cheek Stamp blushes, especially as I was taking advantage of the recent 3 for 2 offer in Boots. The idea with this is that it's similar to an actual ink stamp (stationery fanatics will be delighted) in its design and because of that is ideal for throwing in your bag on the go or on travels. 

They had four available shades in my local store and although I was immediately drawn to the brightest shade (as is my way), I changed my mind when I spotted the palest pink, "Blushin'" as I had nothing like it already.

It feels like a powder-cream consistency to me and it has no scent, which is always pleasant. You use the sponge stamp applicator to pick up colour in the lid, then pat it on to your cheeks. The colour can come out pretty full on but it's not in any way staining so it's pretty easy to simply blend it out with your fingers. It's really handy not needing a brush for applying blush and it actually is really quick and easy. I love the colour itself- it's very flattering on my pale skin and perfect for wearing with a smokey eye and pink lip. I don't think it's the most long wearing of the blushes that I own but it probably is the most natural and pretty shade in my constantly growing collection.

These little beauties come in six shades and are €6.29 for 3.2g. I still really want the brightest pink shade "Made You Look". Check them out HERE. Have you tried the Seventeen Cheek Stamp blush? Thoughts?!

Friday 21 March 2014

Ikea Haul!

We recently moved to a very cute little house and so my interest has been piqued regarding home decor. It's a rented house so we can't do anything permanent; painting or knocking walls etc but that doesn't mean I can't lust after pretty things. And lust I do. There also happened to be a few things the house didn't have that we needed. Hence, Ikea. While the house has book shelves, there was nowhere near enough shelving for the stupid amount of books we own, so we picked up a bookshelf similar to the one below and a narrower matching version also. Otherwise, the rest were completely unnecessary purchases but helped add our own touch to a new home.

Those green boxes are actually more of a pale pistachio colour in real life. They're really handy for storage of random bits and pieces and look really pretty. 
I am a bit in love with the Sophia Loren print, which was only about €11, if I remember correctly. We have it in the kitchen, appropriately enough. God, do I love spaghetti though.
The cushion is to match a similar one that we have already, also from Ikea. 
Those candles in glass jars are less than €2 each. I got a few for the bathrooms, kitchen etc in a fresh floral scent which is really delicate and not at all overpowering. Bargain!
The paper light shade, we actually got on a previous trip to Ikea but didn't have anywhere to put it in our last place so it's now found a new home, along with ourselves. 
Lastly, we got two of the gold frames for hanging smaller black and white prints on the wall. These were about 5 or 6 euro. 

Although I hate the actual trek around Ikea (seriously, there has to be an easier way), I do love the end result and this lovely little lot looks perfect in our new abode.
Are you an Ikea fan or do you prefer a bit of an antique scavenge for your home decor?
To the comments!

Thursday 20 March 2014

Eve Lom Signature Facial | Best of Beauty

The topic for this weeks best of beauty challenge is your favourite beauty treatment and for me it's all about the facial/massage combi. This is actually a blatant cheat this week because I wrote a whole post on this over a year ago now, when I experienced the treatment for the first time (oh yes, it's an "experience") but as I've been again over this past Christmas, I thought y'all wouldn't mind too much if I popped it up here again for this. I can safely say it's the best beauty treatment I've ever been for and probably ever will go for too! Heaven..

The Eve Lom Signature Facial (90 mins, 140 euro). 
Oh dear Lord. I can't even explain how fantastic this was. There's a load of steps to this so I'll do my best to list them as contemporaneously as possible. 

First, you go into the relaxation room where you chill out and have some herbal tea.
Once in your treatment room you have a consultation with your therapist. To start the treatment, you get a rather fabulous back massage and then lie on your back on the heated bed (divine). Then the legendary facial begin; the skin is cleansed with the Eve Lom cleanser- this is so lovely, like a much fancier version of the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish. I reviewed it HERE. This is gently massaged in and then removed with a hot muslin cloth. 

Next a paraffin wax mask is applied (sounds a lot scarier than it is), which heats the skin and opens the pores. The mask is then peeled off and the therapist can work on any blemishes you may have; blackheads, spots etc. I won't lie, this part was uncomfortable and I was concerned I'd come out looking a bit banjaxed but my therapist THEN put on the really gorgeous Eve Lom lavender and camphor Rescue mask, which really calmed my skin down. This was then taken off with a hot chamomile soaked muslin cloth and a cold compress was applied, to refresh the skin and close the pores. My therapist also tried out the Eve Lom "Dynaspot" (spot treatment) for me AND she even put lip balm and eye cream on too. 

Now that is a facial.

If you're interested in getting this for yourself or a loved one (would make an amazing Mother's Day gift!) then check out Revive. They do a whole range of treatments there and stock Essie polishes for manicures..yay!
I can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with for this post! If you want to see every one else's favourite beauty treatment, check out Samantha's blog All The Buzz for a full list of the bloggers taking part!

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Lush Angels On Bare Skin | Review

Angels on Bare Skin is one of those well-loved products from Lush that people are always recommending, so I was delighted to be given a chance to try it out along with some other goodies from the cruelty free brand. This is a solid cleanser for the body but is gentle enough for your face too, so- bonus! Made with 100% natural ingredients; including ground almonds, chamomile blue, lavender oil, rose absolute and topped with lavender flowers, this does unsurprisingly smell strongly of lavender so if you're looking for a soothing cleanser to ease you off to sleep at night, this is your only man. 

Lush Angels On Bare Skin

As it's a solid cleanser, you have to mix it with water to form a paste. In doing so the ground almonds create almond milk which brightens and tones the skin and also acts as a gentle exfoliant. It also containing Kaolin, which absorbs dirt and grease, leaving the skin clean and nourished. Lastly, the lavender, chamomile blue and rose absolute soothe the skin.

Lush Angels On Bare Skin

While this smells lovely (if you're a fan of lavender, obviously), my only gripe with this is that it can often feel like slightly too much effort to use it; making it into an effective enough paste so that it doesn't just crumble away from you when you go to use it can be time consuming and if I'm honest, I try and spend as little time cleansing at night time as I can due to pure laziness. Having said that, this is a really nice treatment for when I do want to take my time and use it for my face and body (when having a bath etc). As it's so natural, it leaves the skin feeling clean but soft, so it's ideal for anyone with dry/irritated skin.

Have you tried Angels On Bare Skin? Are you less lazy than me and actually put time into your nighttime cleansing routine?

*Press sample, greatly received. As always, all opinions are my own.

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Bee Flats From Aldo..My Perfect Summer Shoe.

Yup, you read that correctly. BEES. On my shoes. I love bee prints and bee jewellery etc (as you can see here) and so when I saw these gorgeous nude suede flats in Aldo last week, I had to have them. 

They're super comfortable, go with pretty much everything and should wear well as long as we get the same insanely beautiful weather again this year. I try and get a new pair of classic flat nudes every Summer and end up wearing them to death but I feel like I'll have to actually take care of these and not batter them about the streets of Dublin as I normally would. Which I'm ok with!

Look at how goddamn cute those bees are. Pretty sure I'll smile like an idiot every time I'll look down at my feet from now on, so..that's a bonus.

They also come in coral and black and are available in stores now. Are you as uber prepared for the good weather as I am or do you still need to find the perfect pair of Summer flats?

Thursday 13 March 2014

Sleek Face Contour Kit & Blush by 3 | Best Of Beauty Budget Bargains!

We're up to week 6 already of Sam's Best of Beauty Blogging Challenge and this week we're looking at budget bargains. Now to be honest, I could have picked plenty of things for this but one brand that always springs to mind when I hear "bargain" is Sleek. I probably only became aware of Sleek through blogging but it's definitely been a good discovery and one that has been far kinder to my bank account then most other blogging finds! 
Today I'm focusing on two of their most popular products, the Face Contour Kit in light and the Blush by 3 in Lace. 

As with all Sleek products, these guys are super pigmented so you need a very light hand for application.  Both come in sturdy black casing with very handy mirrors in the lid. 

sleek face contour kit

The Contour Kit has probably gotten the most amount of love from me, purely because I've turned into a bit of a contouring fiend. Granted, the bronzer could be considered a little bit too dark (generally I think my pale skin needs something a bit more grey) but it comes into it's own when I wear tan and need something more sun-kissed. As for the highlighter, you would struggle to find a better, more flattering champagne-hued illuminator for that price. Love it. You can find this little kit HERE on Cloud 10 Beauty for €7.99.

sleek blush by 3 lace

The Blush by 3 palette contains three (obviously) kind of scary looking shades of orange/peach-pink-gold/coral that scream Summer. I've just pulled this out of my stash now that the weather is improving because they really are the perfect shades for blue skies, tanned skin and warm sunny days. My favourite is probably Guipure there in the middle; a good dupe for Nars Orgasm, although equally Crochet (the orange on the left) and Chantilly (the coral on the right) are beautiful too, although they do require sightly less product on your brush and slightly more blending!
You can find the Blush by 3 palettes in lots of different shades HERE on Cloud 10 Beauty for the bargainous price of €12.99

Sleek also make a Face Form palette which contains a bronzer, rose gold blush and highlighter all in one for €12.99 if you're looking to save even more money and space in your make up bag! You can find that HERE

Are you a Sleek fan? What's your favourite bargain brand?

Wednesday 12 March 2014

New! Garnier Ultimate Blends 7-in-1 Dry Shampoo

I'm a big fan of dry shampoo, it's gotten me out of manys the bind. When I say that though I really mean it's sorted me out on those mornings when I wake up, can't face getting up for a shower, press snooze and sleep for another 15 minutes. A few sprays of dry shampoo and my hair looks fresher, has a bit more volume and makes me look a bit more put-together. I've used Batiste for the last few years but when I saw that Garnier has a new one out (and was half price) I was intrigued. 

New! Garnier Ultimate Blends 7-in-1 Dry Shampoo
Really liking that 70's esque font on the bottle too. Groovy. 

The brand describes this new range as having 7-in-1 properties, which are as follows; 

  1. Instantly cleanses
  2. Absorbs grease at the roots
  3. Lightweight feel
  4. Hair feels supple to the touch 
  5. Hair easy to detangle
  6. Blissful fragrance
  7. Leaves no visible residue
I find that brands usually have all sorts of grand promises but actually I agree with all of those. In my head I was comparing it to Batiste the whole time and thinking that although I really liked this one, it wasn't giving me a huge amount of volume in the same way Batiste does. But then I realised that it actually doesn't say that on the Garnier bottle at all, so it really does what it says on the tin. My hair definitely feels fresher when I use it and praise be- there's no residue!! It actually comes out clear. The residue is one thing I really dislike about Batiste so I would have loved this one for that reason alone except that I also love the scent; this one is 'vanilla milk' and smells a bit like a peachy/vanilla mixed with lilies. Lovely. 
Price wise, this was reduced to €4.99 for 150mls from €6.99. For the original Batiste scent you'll pay €3.99 for 200mls, so obviously that's a better saving but I think I'll continue to buy the Garnier one from now on, as long as I can find it at the reduced price! They also have a Green Tea scented version, so I'm interested in trying that too. I just think it's a better product and leaves my hair looking, feeling and smelling better than the Batiste does.
Have you tried this newbie from Garnier or are you a die-hard Batiste fan? Any better options out there you think I should try?

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Tourists In Our Own City

Every so often we like to pretend to be tourists and explore our great city a bit more. I have a real love affair with Dublin and could happily stroll through its beautiful streets every weekend discovering new places and new things and so this weekend we headed off to Temple bar to do just that. We would generally shy away from Temple Bar as it is so very touristy but there's little gems if you look properly. Here's a few snaps from our stroll- brunch and book shopping included!

Beautifully colourful street art
Very yummy brunch from Dux & Co.
Temple Bar book market
Would you just look at the covers on these?!! SWOON! Available form The Winding Stair bookshop, one of my favourites.
Three books for a tenner from the book market..hurrah!
Never gets old..

We have lots more fun things planned for Paddy's weekend which I'm very much looking forward to. Do you ever like to explore your own city like a big mad tourist too?!

Monday 10 March 2014

La Roche Posay Rosaliac CC Creme | Review

I recently attended the launch of La Roche Posay's new CC creme, designed specifically for concealing and correcting redness-prone, sensitive skin whether occasional, persistent, dispersed or localised. It's available in one tone only, a universal tone designed to blend naturally into fair to medium skin tones, so somewhat ideal for Irish complexions. Since the launch I've been trying it out and putting it to the test on a very warm hospital ward and these are my conclusions!

I've actually never used a CC Cream, only the BB versions and I found myself generally underwhelmed with those as I tend to favour more of a medium coverage. BB creams tend to be quite sheer in nature. I feared the same for this but as it's designed to cover unwanted areas of redness I figured the coverage would be more impressive and it definitely is. Even with better coverage, I still wouldn't wear this for a night out, more so for day time and work. And on that note, it has good lasting ability, is non-greasy and blends well. 

swatched and blended

On to there being one shade only...that is something that always worries me a little too as I am naturally quite pale. I do find this looks slightly more natural when I have some tan on my neck but otherwise it is maybe a little too warm for me. I do think it'll be perfect for the Summer months when I'll wear tan more frequently though. I'm wearing tan with it in the below scary close-ups of my face and I think it suits me pretty well there. 

terrifying close up of my face, no filter.

I guess I don't really get a huge amount of redness on my face, I don't suffer from Rosacea or broken veins so I can't comment as to how well this works for that but I know that it's a good, light base that leaves my skin feeling soft, smooth and fresh looking. Another bonus is that it has SPF 30, so perfect for the warmer weather when you want a light coverage for being out and about in the sun.

The La Roche Posay Rosaliac CC Creme is available now in selected pharmacies nationwide. If you do suffer from redness-prone skin, LRP recommend using the accompanying skincare range which I'll go into more detail about in a later post. Have you tried this? Is it something you'd be interested in?

Sunday 9 March 2014

Ten Of My Favourite Female Authors

I wanted to write something for International Women's Day but time ran away from me a bit (I hate when it does that) and although I had an idea, there were more pressing real life things to be getting on with. So instead, I'm writing this now and will make it more of an International Women's Weekend rather than just one measly day. 
I originally had thought that I'd write about my top 5 favourite books written by women but I immediately discarded the idea because that just seems a bit weirdly specific to me. I never choose books based on the gender of the author. I love books of all varieties, genres, storylines, styles etc and for me I never think "I really should buy more books by women, to be a better feminist" or whatever. However, after I'd decided against that idea, I then saw a tweet from radio DJ Rick O Shea explaining that although he's a big reader, he's only read three books by women this year and was looking for recommendations- one per person of a brilliant book written by a woman. Again, I found myself a bit perplexed by this, but then I remembered that books written by women tend to be heavily marketed at women, which both explains why fewer men read books by female authors and why I probably gravitate towards them unknowingly. The fact that I read an equal amount of books written by male authors is down to either the fact that male authors are promoted more in general than female authors are or purely because with the volume of books that I read, it's unsurprising that there's going to be a good mix of both genders when it comes to the writers. But I digress. I decided because of that tweet that I'd go ahead and write the post, so here we are. Instead of Mr O Shea's paltry one recommendation, I'm giving you ten. I haven't read all of their collective works but what I have read I have loved.

Margaret Atwood
I read The Handmaid's Tale for the first time last year and I quickly became deeply immersed in the storyline and the plight of the main character, who finds herself in a dystopian future where women have become slaves to the patriarchy, for their own "protection" from infertility and sexual assault. What is particularly disturbing about this book was how plausible it was. I was reminded several times of battles that women in different parts of the world currently face and felt nauseated at the thoughts of how a fictional story could so easily become reality if certain situations don't approve. A brilliant, wonderfully written book.

Caitlin Moran
I love How To Be A Woman. It's like a witty, accessible guide to feminism and any time I'm asked for a beginners guide to feminism I would usually suggest this. I wish I'd had Caitlin Moran when I was a teenager, instead I had Germaine Greer and The Female Eunuch, which obviously wasn't bad either but I think How to be a Woman would have been a more enjoyable read for 17 year old me.

Sylvia Plath
I also read The Bell Jar when I was a youngster and it really resonated with me. I may not have had the same issues as Esther but her angst comes off the pages in waves so you can't help but empathise. I also love Plath's poetry, which is well worth a read.

Lionel Shriver
Good God, We Need To Talk About Kevin is just an astounding novel. When I read it it actually felt like a slap in the face; I was shocked, disturbed and enthralled all at the same time. Since I finished it, I've been pushing it on other people as I feel like everyone should read this. So very good.

Mary Shelley
An oldy but a good'un. I really didn't think I'd love Frankenstein as much as I did but it was a surprisingly modern tale in a way and I can see why the story has remained such a constant in our popular culture since.

Charlotte Bronte
Speaking of old..I couldn't not mention Charlotte, who wrote one of my all time favourite books, Jane Eyre. The language in this is so beautiful and I love the character of Jane who displays all the characteristics of a feminist, something that was very out of place with the Victorian society that Bronte lived in at the time. That aside, it's a complex multi-layered love story and if you haven't read it yet I would urge you to do so now.

Donna Tartt
I loved The Little Friend, an absolutely epic novel about a child who tries to put the pieces together of the mystery surrounding her brother's death, except unfortunately, she's using her own hazy child-memories to do so, which leads to all sorts of troubles. This is a dark, gripping, masterfully written novel and I've already lined up two more from Tartt to read next; The Goldfinch and The Secret History.

Sarah Waters
Waters is fond of writing historical fiction, often set in either Victorian times or the 1940's. All of her books contain lesbian love stories (bar her most recent), which in itself is refreshingly different from the "heterosexual norm" found in the majority of books written by successful female authors. My absolute favourite book of hers is The Night Watch, which looks at four characters in 1940's London. The story is perfectly written so that the connections between these people are gradually revealed with a constant attached sense of loss and sadness. Beautiful.

Marian Keyes
I personally think Keyes is completely underrated. She's constantly marketed as "chicklit" and while there's nothing wrong with that (bar the cringe-worthy name itself), when I read her books I feel like she's been gypped a bit. She deals with a wide range of topics; mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and divorce, so not strictly within the realm of so called "wimmens problems". She's also a comedic genius and I often find myself loudly chuckling with one of her books in front of me.

Tana French
Another Irish author, French has written four books, all focusing on the fictional 'Dublin murder squad'. Each book has a brand new storyline and main character (although they sometimes appear in the other books as minor characters) and apart from being well paced and well written with an intriguing murder mystery, there's always something a bit sorrowful underneath the surface. The best way I can describe her books is that they're written respectfully. I enjoy a good murder mystery/thriller but gave up on the likes of James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell years ago because they were just too graphic and used the rape, torture and murder of women almost in a titillating manner which bothered me. You won't get that with French and clearly others agree with me as all of her books have been bestsellers, with a fifth being released this year. I can't wait! Note, my favourite of hers is Faithful Place and you don't need to read them in order.

I'm also really enjoying JoJo Moyes, Elizabeth Haynes and J K Rowling at the moment and I suppose a shout out should go to Hilary Mantel who has won the Booker prize twice, even though I personally hated Wolf Hall
Let me know in the comments if any of these brilliant women also rock your world, in the literary sense obviously! If not, who's your favourite female author and why?

Friday 7 March 2014

Boots 3 for 2 Haul!!

It's been so long since I treated myself to any new make up or beauty products, so when I saw Boots have their 3 for 2 on at the moment, I went a bit mad. Here's what I picked up (over a couple of trips!):

I just ran out of my L'ancome foundation and decided to try out a good "drugstore" one instead. For less than a tenner I picked up 'Match Perfection' from Rimmel. So far I've only used this once but I'm liking it. 
I'm a big fan of Revlon lip products and although I've only tried one of the Colorburst lip butters, I've had my eye on 'Strawberry Shortcake' for a while now. I think this will be a great wearable pink for Spring/Summer. 
With the 3 for 2 I then got a Superlustrous lip gloss in 'Berry Allure' free. I have one of these in a coral already (review HERE) but this particular colour has a way of luring me in and unlike the coral, this has no glitter in it, one of the main things I look for in a good gloss. It reminds me of a dark berry lipglass from Mac that I used to wear about ten years ago and loved (I don't know why I just don't buy that again actually) and I love the look of this because it has no shimmer in it- just pure pigmented gloss. Yay!

I also ventured over to the Soap & Glory minis. Up until last year I was using up the end of one of those big S & G gift sets you get at Christmas but there's still a few things I haven't tried from them so I got a mini Flake Away body scrub, Hand Food hand cream and Hand Maid (anti bacterial hand gel). I carry both hand gel and hand cream with me all the time so this little pair will be well used and like all S & G products, they smell incredible. Similarly delicious is the flake away scrub. Seriously, I just want to eat it. It probably isn't as effective as my Cocoa Brown Tough Stuff for exfoliating but it's a good product and a handy size for travel. 

Lastly, these two were House of Fraser purchases but I got money off with my points, so more saving! Hurrah!
I've been loving my Ziaja day cream for the mornings but needed a new thicker moisturiser for night time and so I turned to one of my all time favourites, Origins. I had tried a sample of this one last year (review HERE) and loved it so I got the full pot the other day. My skin is very grateful.
I also needed a new Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner after whittling down my "Corrupt" one (which I've only had since December..sob), so I went for "Smog" this time, as that's one of my favourite UD eyeshadows. 

I'll most likely be doing full reviews on a lot of these but let me know in the comments if there's anything you'd specifically like to see in more detail!

Thursday 6 March 2014

Best of Beauty: Dior J'adore L'Or

Week 5 already, eh? Madness!! For this weeks best of beauty we're looking at a "princess" item, or in other words, your one favourite higher end product. I racked my brains a bit with this one but eventually realised it could only be one thing; my Dior J'adore L'or perfume

Recycled photo from the original blog post. No idea why I'm clutching it like an award..although it does have an "Oscars" quality to it with all that gold..

I'm a huge perfume lover and tend to focus that adoration on Dior and Chanel. This, however, is a pricey addiction and so it's left to my long suffering husband to provide the beautiful scents for birthdays, anniversaries etc. My wedding perfume was the original J'adore, which was the perfect choice- it was a warm and sunny day and J'adore is a classic romantic scent; a delicate fruity/floral that didn't overpower me thanks to its timeless qualities. 
Last year then for our one year wedding anniversary, himself bought me the much more concentrated version of J'adore, J'adore L'or. Just for background purposes, I had been going into Brown Thomas and House of Fraser on the regular and covering myself in this for the two months prior to our anniversary, such was my love for it. But at around the €117 mark for 40ml (I know) there was absolutely no way I could afford to buy it for myself. After no doubt listening to me banging on about it for aaages, I was, to my absolute joy, presented with this on our anniversary. Such a wonderfully thoughtful gift! I've used this practically every day since last August so I now only have about a quarter left and will have to start rationing it, otherwise I won't make it to next August and my new bottle (himself is delighted that he's sorted for anniversary present ideas for life), which would be a travesty!

I actually wrote a full review of this perfume last year, which you can check out HERE, if you're interested in base notes and all that jazz! Let me know in the comments what your own princess item would be, lets all enable each other!

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Ziaja SenSitive Skincare Range | Review

One of my absolute favourite things about blogging is getting the opportunity to try out new products, new brands and most importantly for me; new skincare. Skincare is my thing you see. As excited as I get when I try sparkly new make-up, it can't equal the feeling you get when you find an excellent moisturiser or a really good cleanser. Your skin thanks you for it and it means you're providing the best possible base for all that aforementioned fancy new make-up!
I was delighted then when Polish skincare brand, Ziaja sent me three products from their new SenSitive range to try out. I've given them all a thorough testing over the past couple of weeks and these are my findings *puts on nerdy glasses*:

Ziaja SenSitive skincare

SenSitive Skin Micellar Water
This was actually my first foray into micellar waters so I can't compare it to any others but for me, this really works. Containing 0% parabens, alcohol or perfume this is perfect for those with sensitive or easily irritated skin and contact lens wearers. I tend to veer on the dehydrated side with skin prone to a flare up if it doesn't agree with the sort of heavy duty ingredients that are loaded in to a lot of cleansers. I also wear contacts so this ticks a lot of boxes for me. I pop a bit on cotton wool, wipe over my face and it removes all traces of my make up, whilst cleaning my skin but not leaving me with that awful tight feeling I've experienced from other cleansers in the past. I generally use a separate eye make-up remover but I do that with every cleanser I use. It's a no-rinse formula but I still wash my face after use, purely out of habit. This is an absolute winner of a product and at only €4.50 for 200mls you genuinely can't go wrong. Even if you don't have sensitive skin, the bottom line is, this works, it's good value and appears to be good for your skin. Yay!

Ziaja Sensitive soothing day cream

SenSitive Skin Soothing Day Cream
This is a gentle emulsion with moisturising and protective properties for sensitive, dry or itchy skin. Again, there's 0% silicones, mineral oil or perfume which is always good news and it does have an SPF of 20 (really important for me as I won't leave the house without sun protection on my visage). In some ways, this is a bit like E45 or Aqueous cream (both of which I've turned to in the past when my skin has been suffering from dry patches etc) except that unlike those, the Ziaja day cream sinks in quickly, it's light on the skin so is perfect for popping on pre make-up and most importantly, it moisturises my skin, leaving it feeling comforted and soothed. I haven't tried the evening version of this but for a daytime moisturiser, this is ideal. Again, you're only looking at €6.99 for 50mls.

Ziaja Sensitive enzyme peeling

SenSitive Skin Enzyme Peeling
Again, confession, I've never used an enzyme peeling mask before..I know, bad form but I've always feared that I'll end up like Samantha in that episode of Sex and the City where she gets a chemical peel and has to wear a black veil over her face to Carrie's book launch as she's too terrifying otherwise. Obviously, that didn't happen here. Unsurprisingly, this gently peels old dead skin cells and smooths and softens the skin. Once again, it has 0% silicones, mineral oil or perfume. Now, I exfoliate a couple of times a week with a grainy exfoliator but as someone with sensitive skin, using a non-abrasive mask to freshen up my skin seems like more of a no-brainer. I smooth a small amount on my skin, leave it on for 10-15 minutes (usually having a bath in that time) then rinse off with warm water. I was genuinely impressed with how soft my skin was after using this and my foundation went on a lot smoother the following morning. This will set you back only €4.99 for 60mls and as a little goes a long way, you'll get great value from this.

So there you have it, you could get a whole new skincare regime for less than €17! This is definitely worth checking out if you have dry, sensitive or easily irritated skin or, like I said, if you just want to try out some new products that work and without spending a small fortune doing so!

You can read more about Ziaja on their Facebook page, HERE. Let me know in the comments if you've tried anything from Ziaja and if you'll be picking up any of these products yourself!