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Wednesday 30 April 2014

Recently Read: February & March!

Yeah, I know this is super late but I got too caught up in the actual reading of the books to do any reviews so I'm putting February and March together and will pop April up next month!

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
Told from the perspective of three women, it takes a while to work out the connection between them. This is slowly revealed as they each get their own chapters for their story. The husband in question is Cecelia's husband. She finds a letter addressed to her and only to be opened in the event of his death. Curiosity gets the better of her eventually and what she reads changes their lives forever. Sounds intriguing, right? Yeah, I thought so too. Look, it was grand, a passable read but definitely not the best thriller I've read so far this year. Some are describing this as "chick lit" but the subject matter is definitely in the thriller category as far as I'm concerned. While it wasn't a bad read at the time, it was pretty much instantly forgettable-I had to go back and read the synopsis of this to remember what happened. That rarely happens with books I've read only a month ago.
Overall, meh. 

Starter For Ten by David Nichols
I was a big fan of One Day (the novel that came after this) so I was eager to give this a go. The story follows Brian on his first year in college, away from home and the friends he grew up with. "Starter For Ten" refers to his lifelong ambition to get onto University Challenge. Brian isn't the most appealing character; he never says the right thing, has delusions regarding his own intelligence, social standing and abilities with women which can at times make for fairly cringe-worthy reading. That said, it was also laugh out loud funny in parts and just extremely witty. I wouldn't read this if you're hoping for another One Day but I really like Nicholls style of writing so I enjoyed it. On a side note, I also appreciated the Smiths references ;)

The Innocents by Francesca Segal
This is a modern reworking of the Edith Wharton novel, The Age of Innocence, which I thought was an interesting concept. That was before I read it. 
The story is that of a couple in their late twenties, about to get married after almost a decade together. This is a big deal as they're part of a close-knit Jewish community in London where marriage is a natural progression and something the entire extended family becomes apart of. Unfortunately, Adam, the groom-to-be falls for the bride's free-spirited, sexy cousin (the opposite of his fiancee Rachel) and then...well, nothing really happens after that. For me, it took too long to establish its storyline and even then not a huge amount happened. Things moved slowly, as they often do in real life and while that's realistic and perfectly fine, it doesn't make for the most exciting plot for a book containing 288 pages. I'd give this one a miss.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
This is a children's fantasy novel about a young boy Conor, who while struggling to cope with his mother's failing health due to terminal cancer, experiences visitations each night from a monster outside his bedroom window. The monster tells Conor he's there to help him but must tell him three stories- each one seems to have the theme of "humans are complicated and the most obvious explanation is not always the right one". Each story has greater impact on Conor's life during the daytime until eventually it culminates in a major showdown between him and the monster which, if I'm honest, had me in absolute floods of tears and once again in public (this is a regular occurrence for me when I read a book anywhere outside of my house). Although this technically is a childrens book, it's also very accessible for adults and deals with themes and emotions that we're all familiar with in a more grown-up way than I was expecting. I read this on my kindle cause I got it in the amazon kindle sale after Christmas but the hardback version has some rather beautiful illustrations in it too that are well worth having a look at if you can get your hands on it.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer "No Future For You"
This is number two in the graphic novel series which carries on from where season 7 of the TV show left off. I'm really enjoying these so far; the style is very much in-keeping with the programme and the drawings are brilliant. This one focuses a bit more on Faith, the "bad" slayer, who everyone loves..some more so than Buffy herself *controversial*.

Harry Potter and The Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K Rowling
No 3 in the series and I'm well on my way to getting all of them finished this year as part of my reading goals. Loving the series and I really enjoyed this one, which a lot of people have told me is their favourite! I can't judge yet, obviously!

The Book Lovers Companion: What To Read Next
Himself and I actually got this for my mammy-in-law for Christmas but I picked it up when I stayed in the in-laws house recently and had it finished in a couple of hours. Featuring a foreword by Lionel Shriver and reviews throughout from English literature experts, critics and avid readers, this is a very handy guide for anyone who finds themselves stuck on what book to pick up next. It covers old school to modern classics with recent releases in there too and highlights interesting discussion points about each book which would be useful for you if you're part of a book club. I was pleased to find that I'd read a lot of the books that are mentioned but I did also get lots of tips for books to read in the future too.

Have you read any of this lot? 

Tuesday 29 April 2014

Kate Moss for Topshop

You may or may be aware that Kate Moss has collaborated with Topshop again, with a brand new collection launching tomorrow. I was a big fan of her previous collections from a few years ago so I've been looking forward to this one too. 
Most likely I'll only buy one dress that I have my eye on but otherwise it's just a bit too spendy for me. Don't get me wrong, the Kate Moss for Topshop stuff is always on the higher end price-wise, so that wasn't a surprise, it's more that I don't have quite as much of a disposable income these days as I used to in my early twenties!
Anyway, here are my picks:

There's actually a pretty good selection of typically Moss-style items; fringed festival-appropriate jackets/shorts, super glamorous sequined jackets, an androgynous slinky "tux", cute playsuits and dresses, silky camisoles and Oscars-worthy gowns. Interestingly, there's pyjamas in there too, which are very cute! 

You can see the range in full HERE
Anything catching your eye?

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet | Review

We all know by now that I'm a big fan of Bourjois. I'm also a bit of a lipstick fiend and have always admired people who can wear matte lips with apparent ease. I've never been one of those people. I have permanently dry lips but a good routine of Lush lip scrub with Nuxe lip balm afterwards has made my lips better prepared for more drying textures and this new release from Bourjois, the Rouge Edition Velvet has also helped. 

Bourjois rouge edition velvet

The idea with these is that they offer six bold shades in a liquid formula, which sets to a long lasting, matte finish. The three I've tried are all highly pigmented and easy to apply. The brand claims they offer 24 hour hold, which is...complete nonsense. They definitely stain (helpful tip- don't swatch these on your hand, you'll never get them off) but they also need to be reapplied after food and drink and as they wear off they leave that awful rim around the lips that looks like you've applied lip liner only and are in fact, a bit of a weirdo.

Bourjois rouge edition velvet

That aside, they do feel quite soft on the lips and I haven't noticed any particular drying effect. As I'm typing this, I've been wearing no 5, Ole Flamingo! all day and my lips feel fine- not a hint of dry skin!

Bourjois rouge edition velvet

Packaging wise, these are pretty standard. I like that you can tell straight off what each shade is as the tube is see-through with the lid matching the shade within. They have doe-foot applicators that allow for an even application, which is very handy and each contains 6.7mls. Yeah, that sounds like nothing but a little goes a long way with these as they are so very pigmented.

Bourjois rouge edition velvet
I know these look a bit samey here but you can trust me that they all look very different in real life!

As for the shades, I went for very typically me colours. 
01 Personne ne Rouge! is a classic blue toned red. It'll suit us pale skinned Irish ladies pretty well and although it's a strong red, it isn't shockingly bright so is actually quite wearable.
02 Frambourjoise is kind of a mixture between 1 & 5; a bright but flattering pinky-red. I've so far worn this one the most. It goes with everything.
05 Ole Flamingo is a super bright blue-toned pink. This is fairly neon against my porcelain skin but as I'm a big fan of these sort of lip colours, I'm happy out with this. 

You can find these in Boots for around €12.49 and are part of the current 3 for 2 offer available in stores and online!
Have you tried any of the Bourjois rouge edition velvets? Thoughts?

Monday 28 April 2014


Last month we visited Scotland's beautiful capital city. Although we'd both been there before we hadn't been together so we went into full tourist mode with trips made to the Castle, Mary King's Close (creepy underground tour), Camera Obscura, Loch Lomond and the Highlands, the National Art Gallery, the Scotch whiskey experience and eh, the cafe where J.K Rowling wrote Harry Potter. It's an absolutely beautiful city that is steeped in history (a lot of which is pretty grim, so would appeal to those of you who appreciate the macabre!) with lots of great places to eat and drink. Everyone is super friendly too; it's a very welcoming city and a great spot for a weekend break away. Here are our highlights in photo format, I've popped them into collages so you don't get photo weary!

The Elephant House cafe ("birthplace of Harry Potter), Me dressed super warmly- 'tis fierce cold there- bring yo scarf and yo gloves!! Lots of cool photo opportunities at Camera Obscura

My lovely sis-in-law and I taking a well deserved break after a walk up the Crags (note- I am very unfit), view from the crags, Loch Lomond lake (breathtaking) and village.

ALL the Scotch Whiskey including this very expensive bottle, costing £18,500 (we bought one each, obvs), the dessert platter of my dreams, COCKTAILS!!

Lots of beautiful architecture..

Me pretending to be William Wallace at Edinburgh castle for no particular discernible reason. Having the lols (as the kids say) with himself.

Much, much love for Edinburgh.
Have you been? Any plans for a trip away somewhere else (not to sound too much like your hairdresser)?

Thursday 24 April 2014

Roger & Gallet Gingembre Rouge Eau Fraiche Fragrance | Review

The new fragrance from French perfumery, Roger & Gallet is Gingembre Rouge Eau Fresh and let me tell you, it is gorgeous!
Before we get into that though, let's just take a minute to appreciate that packaging, shall we? The bottle itself is in the brand's classic style but that multi-faceted, art-deco lid and the colour gradient of ruby to cerise on the bottle to represent the red fruits and the ginger notes contained within it are new and quite breathtaking. This is one for the dressing table, for sure.

Roger & Gallet Gingembre Rouge Eau Fraiche

Onto the perfume itself. This is a very fruity scent, containing notes of mandarin, lychee, pink peppercorn, pomegranate and a head note of orange blossom. You could be forgiven then for thinking that this is a purely sweet fragrance but oh, how wrong you'd be. 
The clue is in the name really but there's ginger in there too, in the form of fresh ginger for a fruity, lemony quality, the ginger flower which is similar in scent to lilies and crystallised ginger combined with cedar wood and white musk for a warm, powdery hit. 
Because you have a combination of the above, you get a wonderful mix of warm spice, feminine florals and fresh fruits with a hint of musk as well. 
This is ideal for you if you love feminine scents but don't want to smell like "a baby prostitute", to quote the great Tina Fey. I love florals but generally need a good whack of something else in there like vanilla, musk or in this case, ginger, to make it a bit more interesting, longer lasting and just more mature really.
I usually need to re-spritz this during the day to top it up but that's not a problem as I would do that with any perfume really. 

If you're looking for a fresh, summery fragrance then this is the one. 
You can find it now in selected pharmacies nationwide and Marks and Spencer's Beauty Halls for €17.30 for 30mls and €39.75 for 100mls.

*Press sample, gratefully received. All views are my own, as always.

Friday 18 April 2014

Recently Viewed Part 2

See Recently Viewed Part 1 HERE.

300 Rise of an Empire
Hubster and I both really loved 300 so we were greatly anticipating the follow up, Rise of an Empire. We were sadly disappointed. We realised afterwards that the reason why we loved the original so much was because it was so original; the fight scenes, the slow motion killing, the colours, the creepy monsters. It was all so dramatic but the storyline was also captivating; you really got behind the Spartans and wanted them to win. This fella though, was like watching your boring next door neighbour getting mildly upset over how long the paint was taking to dry on his fence. I couldn't even tell you now what his name was. Lena Headley (the Queen) is in this one again and I like her but I felt she was underused. I loved the character of Artemesia (Eva Green) who was strong, merciless and more than a little bit evil. Although you clearly weren't meant to, I was backing her all the way, as was hubster. We cared that little for the plight of "the good guys" cause it was just so badly written. I could also rant on here about the lazy scriptwriting that insists that any female character who is seeking revenge is doing so because she was raped but I may leave that for another post. Either way this gets a giant MEH from me.

Captain America The Winter Soldier
We're also big Marvel fans so obviously couldn't wait to see this, especially after catching a 10 minute trailer of it before something else. If I'm honest, I was a bit nonplussed by the first Captain America but I really enjoyed this one. It seems to have found its feet a bit more and it seemed more like a proper action/adventure movie than it did a cartoon (which is how I felt about the first one). This time Captain America is up against a super soldier (that Winter fella in the title) who appears to be unstoppable while also dealing with S.H.I.E.L.D who may or may not be compromised (I'll say no more). This moved along at a nice pace, the fighting scenes were really well done and overall It was just really entertaining. Don't get me started on all the ass shots of Scarlet Johannson though. You know, it just annoys me; she's this amazing fighter, a super-assassin and yet they still have her saying things like "Oh, hello sailor" in a sexy voice before punching a guy on a boat. Why? Captain America doesn't do that, why should she? All I'll say is that her character said nothing so stereotypically "female fighter" when Joss Whedon wrote her lines in The Avengers but whatever. 

Non Stop
This is just your standard Liam Neeson action film. He plays a US Federal air marshal on a regular flight when he starts getting text messages from someone to say that people on the plane will start to die unless money is transferred into an account. Unfortunately, as events unfold it appears more and more obvious that Neeson's character is being set up and now everyone thinks he is the guilty party, which means he now has to stop the terrorist and clear his own name. This wasn't bad at all, I mean it's total nonsense but it's entertaining nonsense and Julianne Moore is in it too, so that's a reason to see it right there. Love her.

Dallas Buyers Club 
This is the true story of real life AIDS sufferer Ron Woodruff who upon diagnosis, finds out he cannot gain access to medications that could prolong his life because they aren't FDA approved. He then sets up a smuggling business to bring these medications into the country and give them to fellow patients as part of the 'Dallas buyers club". From there it's basically about his many run-ins with the law, how his illness affects him as a person (his growing tolerance for others and his friendship with Rayon, a HIV positive trans woman who he originally is hostile towards but grows to love as a friend) and his lengthy fight with the FDA to make his medications legal. This film was just brilliant. Difficult to watch at times but so compelling and so well acted. I loved it really and cried like a baby a couple of times. Both Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto truly deserved those Oscars.

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 1 & 2
I'm way late to this party (the first film was out in 2009 I think) but himself recently found these on Netflix and we said we'd give them a go (I said I'd give them a go- he loves animation, I have to be in the right frame of mind for it). Regardless, I loved both of these, more so the first but they are both very, very funny. Incredibly witty actually. Although one of the more basic jokes was the one that got us the most- Flint is a wannabe scientist, all of his inventions are terrible, including a monkey speech translator for his pet monkey Steve. All Steve ever says is "Steve!", so now himself and I spend a lot of time going "Steve!" to each other. Sad, yes. Hilarious also. Anyway, Flint comes up with a machine that turns rain into food, which is great to start with but goes a bit awry...the second film is a follow on from the fallout of his invention in the first film. This is one of those ones that's suitable for kids and adults. If you haven't seen them you definitely need to watch these!!

Lego Movie
I really loved this computer animated comedy, all about the world of Lego (unsurprisingly). So many brilliant in-jokes, visual gags and hilarious characters. The cast list is great too- Will Arnett as Batman was a stroke of genius! Lets also not forget the amazing soundtrack...EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!! etc. 

Have you seen any of these? Any other good films recently I should be checking out?

Thursday 17 April 2014

Ciate Summer Pastels

I actually got these four in my Ciate advent calendar at Christmas but really these are far better suited for this time of year. Good weather, blue skies and sunshine make me gravitate towards pastels and these are my current favourite for nails:

Ciate Pastels

From left to right; Pepperminty, a perfect pastel mint, Sugar Plum, a creamy lilac, Ferris Wheel, a powdery duck-egg blue and Amazing Gracie, a flattering pale pink.

I recently wore Ferris Wheel and could not stop looking at my own nails. I know, tragic but I adore pastels and that blue is just gorgeous. These are all super easy to apply, needing two to three coats and then last a good week before chips appear (with a decent top coat). 

ciate pastels

Next up I'll be going for Sugar Plum! Or potentially a mixture of all four for an Easter theme!

You can buy a similar set of pastels from Ciate at the moment, from Arnotts and selected pharmacies nationwide: 

Yeah, let's all take a moment to swoon at that packaging..
And we're done!
What's on your own nails at the moment? Rocking any pastels?

Tuesday 15 April 2014

This Works Deep Sleep Heavenly Candle & Pillow Spray

A while back I was suffering pretty badly with insomnia. As in wide awake for most of the night, usually finally falling asleep once it was actually the start of a new day. It was absolutely exhausting and stressful. I was stressed anyway (part of the reason why I couldn't sleep) and the added stress of not being able to sleep properly just made it all a big vicious circle. Fast forward a few months to improving health and generally just being exhausted from being back at work which means that I'm now getting around six hours sleep a night; a huge improvement for me. I'm not quite there yet obviously so I decided to try out a couple of sleep aids from This Works. It's important to note that prior to this I also tried meditation, exercise and those creepy sleep sounds, none of which worked. 

First off, the deep sleep heavenly candle. This is designed to help you "relax, unwind and slow down" through a strong blend of lavender and Roman chamomile essential oils. I find this has quite a masculine scent. It's not something I would gravitate towards and actually buy if I'd picked it up and smelt it in a shop first (I got it online). That said, I quite like it now. Also, himself is delighted- this is definitely more man orientated than some of the sweeter candles I would often favour. I also really like the packaging- a heavy matte white glass container with the 'This Works' logo across it; minimalist and clean. Very nice. But does it work, I hear you cry?! Well, yes actually. I usually light this for about a half an hour while I read a couple of chapters of my book and sip my chamomile tea. A few minutes after I blow it out I find myself getting drowsy and my head getting heavy on the pillow. Again, the fact that I am more tired these days definitely helps but this really does get me over that initial hurdle of drifting off, which I found so difficult before. In conjunction with this fella I use the deep sleep pillow spray:

This again contains lavender but also wild chamomile and vetivert designed to promote rest and relaxation. I unsurprisingly spray this on my pillow about ten minutes before I turn off the lights and take a few nice deep breaths. Between this and the candle, I find I can get to sleep a lot more easily. 
I actually got this months ago and when I originally started using it I got frustrated and gave up. It wasn't curing my insomnia, you see. Then of course, like a big eejit I realised that it isn't designed to do that. It helps you sleep more deeply (hence the name) and for longer, so my nights of finally drifting off at 5 or 6am and waking up on the hour every hour (like Sky News but somehow with more journalistic integrity) are now over. Now, when I fall asleep that's that. Until the alarm goes off and I snooze on for far longer than I should, naturally.

I bought both of these from Asos. The candle you can find HERE for €35.12. The spray is currently sold out but they do have this limited edition one HERE for €42.14. Both of mine were on sale when I bought them but they're now unfortunately back to full price, as you can see. 

I also try and implement other tips for getting a better nights sleep; no caffeine at night time, nothing stimulating in the bedroom (mind out of the gutter, dirtbirds! I'm talking about TV, computers, phones etc), a nice relaxing bath before bed and chamomile tea. 

What are your tips for a proper snooze? Have you tried anything from This Works?

Thursday 10 April 2014

Ziaja Men | A Review by Himself PLUS A Giveaway!

So I've finally done it, I've roped my long-suffering husband into doing a blog review. I say that but really I'm writing this, just using his words. I chose to grill him on his thoughts after he had worked a 24 hour hospital shift, which aside from being slightly cruel also meant that he was perhaps less able to form a coherent sentence. Hence me doing the whole writing thing. 

The products in question are the Ziaja Men range. If you read my review of Ziaja's SenSitive skin range HERE then you'll know I'm already a big fan so when the brand gave me the Duo concept products to try out, I couldn't wait to see how himself would get on with them.

Firstly, a little bit about my lovely hubster. He has a daily routine but ordinarily wouldn't go any further than showering, a quick shave to tidy up his beard, deodorant and maybe some hand cream for his poor dry hands. He would never bother with moisturising etc and the situation rarely arises that I am ready before him. Yes, we are that cliche. So both the face cream and the aftershave balm were new additions to his routine. Here's how he got on: 

Ziaja Men duo concept

The packaging itself is simple, clean and masculine. We both gave all the products a sniff and found they have a lovely fresh, citrusy scent. I actually thought that these would be good for women too, if you dislike traditional feminine scents and prefer something more masculine, these are a good alternative. They definitely smell "male" but are in no way overpowering. No sex panther here, that's for sure. 

Duo concept moisturising soothing shower gel
This has a gel-like consistency, it's not as liquid or runny as some other shower gels are which himself firmly approves of and it lathers well also so it's exactly what you want when you're hopping into the shower in a hurry before work. It also has 300mls of product which is a really good size, especially considering the price, which is only €2.99!! While he hasn't noticed any particular moisturising effect, equally it hasn't dried his skin out as other shower gels have in the past.  

Duo concept moisturising soothing face cream
Smells a bit like sun lotion but manlier! It absorbs quickly, is non-greasy and has some serious mattifying properties (no shiny faces with this fella). I tried this out myself and couldn't believe how effective it was. If you have oily skin and are looking for a good moisturiser, this is the bomb. Himself has normal skin and although this was mattifying, it also left his skin feeling soft and smooth, which is not an easy combination to find in a moisturiser. It also contains SPF 6, which we both think could be a bit higher (men burn too!) but it's still a positive that it's in there at all. This is €4.79 for 50mls.

Duo Concept moisturising soothing Aftershave balm
This is designed to provide a barrier function for the skin while reducing bacteria growth. While he doesn't have a lot of shaved skin on his face due to his beard, he used this on his cheeks and his neck, where he tidies up unwanted beard-hair (my words, no idea how else to say that) and he found that it did soothe his skin post-shave with no stinging. Again, it absorbs quickly and is non-greasy. This is €4.56 for 75mls.

Duo Concept Anti-Perspirant
Himself doesn't like roll-ons for practical reasons; he finds that generally they can be sticky and drying (like a crusty layer...eww) but this one absorbs quickly and doesn't leave a sticky residue (and once again, eww). He felt it was effective on trial but hasn't used it enough to be able to say how good it is long term. This is €3.79 for 60mls.

The final verdict is that the Ziaja Men range is effective and good value and himself has said that he will definitely be purchasing more when he finishes this lot. So there you have it, two thumbs up from Dr Fancy Pants!

He's also very happy about that pint.

You can find Ziaja in Shaws department stores, online from Original Beauty and selected pharmacies nationwide.

In more great news, the lovely people over at Ziaja have given me not one but TWO sets of the mens range to give away to two of you lovely peeps! This would make a great pressie for your other half, dad, brother, friend, or for yourself (for men reading this or women who need a damn good mattifying moisturiser!).
So there'll be two winners (one set each), open to Irish residents only and over 18's (if you're under 18 you'll need permission from a guardian as I'll need your address to send your prize out to you!).
Just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below and leave me a comment letting me know you've entered! Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Barry M Natural Glow Palette | Review

Last year, Barry M brought out a range of four eyeshadow/blush palettes designed to cater for "every occasion and every outfit". I'm a little late to this particular party but there's good reason for that- they've always been either out of stock or the stand has been a complete state any time I've seen them in Boots or Superdrug. I was in the UK recently however and by god, do they know how to keep a tidy make up stand. It was great to be able to swatch all four palettes and pick my favourite, which is clearly the Natural Glow Palette. There's also Smokin' Hot, Summer Love and Glamour Puss. And yes, overall I hate the names.

Barry M Natural Glow Palette

Speaking of which, the shadows/blush have no names which irks me slightly. I mean, it doesn't take away from it that much, it's just always nice to be all "hmm, I think I'll wear a mixture of rusty pipe and lizard trampoline this evening", or you know, whatever other insane names brands inexplicably give eyeshadows. But whatever. 
Packaging wise, it's actually quite a nice little box, made of hard card with a mirror on the inside lid and those god-awful sponge applicators. TWO OF THEM. I'd like to think no one has used those since 1989 but I suppose you never know. It has also been pointed out on my Instagram that this does bear more than a passing resemblance to a certain nude-y eyeshadow palette and I completely see that but the difference really is quality. 

Barry M Natural Glow Palette

So we have four shimmers and two mattes. That pink on the left is a shimmer, the next two are mattes and then the last three are shimmers. Two of the paler browns are basically the same colour but one is shimmery. The pink blush is a bit shimmery too and could easily be used as a highlighter as it is quite pale, almost too pale for me to use as a blush to be honest. It doesn't do a whole lot for me when it's actually on my cheeks. 

Barry M Natural Glow Palette

The shadows themselves are great shades but the fallout from some of them is just ludicrous. The darkest shade at the end in particular is a nightmare to put on. I think I'm probably a bit spoilt from using my Nars shadows so when I went to use this for the first time I did all the rest of my make up first before doing my eyes. That was indeed, a mistake. I pretty much had to redo all the make-up under my eyes and some of my cheeks too. Some of them are just super crumbly and I really don't have the time, patience or inclination for something that inconvenient. 

Barry M Natural Glow Palette

There they all are swatched, as they are in the palette, left to right with the blush on the end. 
While I do really like the shades and some of them are OK to use, for me this feels like one of those situations where you take your 40 quid, spend it on a load of cheap make-up which you may or may not get a lot of use from. You could take that same 40 quid and buy a more high end palette that'll be highly pigmented, a dream to apply and last for ages. This obviously is not always true but in this instance, I feel like buying the cheaper palette was a bit of a false economy. It was only six pounds but if I get practically no use from it then can you still consider it a bargain? 

So, eh, after that glowing review...have you tried any of the Barry M shadow & blush palettes?

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Viviscal Gentle Shampoo & Moisturising Conditioner

I've had these two since last Summer but only started to use them in January. I've been using both since then and have just finished them so I feel like I can, at last, give a proper review. 
Viviscal, if you haven't heard of them, have been around for the last twenty years doing research and clinical trials into perfecting their "hair growth' range, including the Gentle Shampoo and Moisturising Conditioner.  Aimed at those who want to reduce hair loss and increase healthy hair growth, their products tend to be free of parabens and sulphates, so although you don't get a lather, you do help to protect your hairs natural oils. My own hair is dry, coloured, thin and quite weak and I'm forever looking for a solution, so I was very pleased to be given the opportunity to try these out*.

Viviscal Gentle Shampoo & Moisturising Conditioner

The shampoo is designed to gently cleanse sensitised cells and hair with fruit extract to mildly exfoliate excess residue and dead/flaking skin, promoting cell renewal. It also contains panthenol which apparently conditions the hair from the root outwards and lavender oil to soothe and refresh.The conditioner meanwhile, contains argan and hazelnut oils, keratin and creatine, which all work together to return hair to health, add volume, smoothness and shine.

So that's what the brand says. Here's what I thought:

Firstly, it took me a while to get used to the scent. Both the shampoo and conditioner have a strong herbal, almost medicated-lavender scent (no, I don't know what "medicated-lavender" is either), which is fine, just not always the most pleasant thing to rub into your head. As we already know, the
shampoo doesn't really lather that much but it always felt like my hair was thoroughly cleansed after use. I don't feel like either product hugely conditioned my hair, if anything, it felt slightly more dry after use. I never noticed additional volume, health or renewal of my hair. I had the same amount of split ends, my hair still didn't grow past where it would've normally and it was still as thin as before- definitely no major hair growth.
The conditioner was fine, again I wasn't really sure it was doing that much for me and I never dried my hair and thought "wow, that feels great after using that" as I would have in the past with other conditioners. In fairness, I wasn't expecting a Rapunzel-like result but "cell renewal" etc seems a bit of a stretch where these are concerned.
In short, these are both perfectly serviceable if you're using them as regular, bog standard hair products, but if you're expecting wonder products that'll give you perfect hair then you could well be as disappointed as myself.

If you're interested in giving these a go for yourself, you can find Viviscal in Boots, pharmacies and health stores nation-wide. Both of these are €11.95 each.

Have you tried anything from Viviscal?

*Press sample, gratefully received. All opinions my own, as always!

Monday 7 April 2014

Spring Wishlist

This time of year basically means pastels for me so that check coat from Topshop is top of the wish list at the moment. It looks beautiful but as I haven't seen it in real life it could still be horribly disappointing..I don't always have the best luck with oversized coats. I have high hopes for this one though! 
Dior make my favourite perfumes and I've lately fallen a bit for Miss Dior, a beautifully pretty floral fragrance, perfect for Spring/Summer. 
I love, love, love the look of these cut-out shoes from Zara, super Summery and they'd go with loads. 
Equally lovely is the very cute daisy bag there from Acessorize. The want is strong for that one, I tell ya. 
Make-up wise, I have my eye firmly on that blush palette from TheBalm, the Naked 3 palette (still!) and that gorgeous pinky/purple polish from Essie

Spring pastels

What's making your wishlist at the moment? Are you all about the pastels too?