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Sunday 29 June 2014

Soap & Glory Bright Here, Bright Now | Review

I featured this fella recently in a Boots and pharmacy haul (HERE). Bright Here, Bright Now was half price at €10.65, down from €15.99. I had ran out of my Clarins Flash Balm (one of my all time favourite products) and as I'm trying to save a bit of cash these days, I thought I'd try out this "instant radiance boosting balm" instead. 
This contains moisturisers for all skin types, such as apricot kernel oil, soft-Ć’ocus Luminospheres-SF and quick lift Instantight 2
Although who really knows what those last two are.

Soap and Glory Bright Here, Bright Now

First off, this has a very unusual scent. I finally figured out what it is; a combination of mint, fruity/floral and almonds. That might be just what it reminds me of but either way, it's strong so if you're not a big fan of heavily scented face products, this may be one to stay away from. In appearance it's a light fluid with a pearlescent finish but once blended onto the skin it's virtually unnoticeable (hence why I haven't shown an after photo- it literally looked the exact same on camera).

Soap & Glory suggest using this on clean skin, "whenever your face is flagging", as a moisturiser or to mix it into your makeup. 
I have dehydrated skin and found this a bit too light to use as a moisturiser on it's own so I've been applying it after my daily moisturiser, as a primer (which is how I used Clarins Flash Balm). I think it's a good consistency to use as a primer, because as I said, it's a light fluid and sinks in easily. I've yet to mix it in with my foundation as I more wanted this as a primer so I can't comment on how well it works for that. 

I'm still a bit on the fence on this one, I'm not 100% sure that it's as brightening as it's designed to be and although they're different products I definitely prefer my Flash Balm, which makes my skin look fresher and more awake, without the use of luminising agents. 

Having said that, this is a nice product and is good value for the price. 

Have you tried Bright Here, Bright now?

Thursday 26 June 2014

NEW! Catrice Le Grand Bleu Limited Edition!

The limited edition Summer range from Catrice combines pastels with various shades of blue for a fresh take on this years nautical trend.

In the range you'll find four long lasting eye shadow pens in a soft rose, a copper, a turquoise and a pastel pink. These will be €4.29 each. 

Also for eyes, you'll find an azure blue eyeliner pen (€3.69) for a pop of colour and a liquid highlighter (€4.49) which will be great for the browbone and undereye areas.

For lips, there's a matt lip cream (€4.49) and a crystal lip gloss (€3.69) so whichever texture you prefer, you're covered! 

Lastly, the star of the show for me with Catrice is usually the nail polishes and this collection looks no different. Five nail polishes, again in navy, pastel pink, turquoise, copper and azure with a mix of glitter, iridescence and metallic finishes. These will be €2.99 each. 

The collection will be available from July to September 2014 in Penneys and pharmacies nationwide. Anything catching your eye?

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Summer Skin Saviours 2014

I wrote a similar post last Summer and I'm sure some of the products mentioned will be the same but sometimes things are classics for a reason.

1, 2 & 3: Sun Protection!
I tend to get a new bottle of sunscreen ever year, himself and I use up a whole tube/bottle on our travels and this year is no different. This fella from Garnier was half price in the Merrion Shopping centre pharmacy there two weeks ago and we're already half way through it! Some weather we're having! This has a high SPF of 50, I always wear 50 because I don't tan, I only burn so I prefer to wear a stronger SPF and this has worked perfectly. No burning and it sinks in easily. The only issue I have with it is that it's odourless, I prefer a coconut-y scent during the Summer (I'll get to that later!) but it's not a big deal.
I always wear an SPF on my lips and face so I wear the EOS lemondrop lip balm, as it smells like sherbet and contains SPF15 along with my Chanel facial lotion, containing SPF 50. The latter there is a pure luxury item, there's plenty more reasonably priced facial sunscreens out there but himself bought me this as a present last Summer and to be honest, it's one of my favourite beauty products so I'm rationing it like crazy! It smells amazing and leaves my skin feeling really soft. Most days during the Summer I just wear this and the EOS on my face and that's all that's needed! Perfect!

4: Cocoa Brown Gentle Bronze*
Again, I'm almost finished this as I use it practically every night. This is a moisturiser with a built in gradual self-tanner, I apply it regularly to maintain a nice, even, healthy glow. I've had no issues with streaks (like all CB products, it applies like a dream), it smells like chocolate (yum!) and it's actually a really good tan- I mean you need to wash your hands well after use because you will have tanned palms in the morning! I use a tanning mitt for application to be on the safe side and because it's a gradual tanner, you don't need to wash it off the next morning so it's a handy product and I wouldn't be without it at this stage. I'll be picking up a new one as soon as this is empty.

5 & 6: The Body Shop Coconut Body Scrub and Body Butter
Here's that coconut I was talking about! Is there anything nicer in the Summer than the scent of coconut on your skin? It's such a warm, gentle scent and invokes the beach and more tropical climes so I reach for this every year when the temperatures start to pick up a bit. These are brand new tubs..I'm sure other skincare fanatics can appreciate this image:

I just wanna dive in!!

7: La Roche Posay Eau Thermale/Thermal Spring Water Facial Spray*
I love this refreshing can of goodness! It's particularly wonderful during this scorching hot weather we've been having, especially as I've been having trouble getting comfortable at night. A spritz of this instantly cools the skin and helps take care of that awful prickly heat. For extra coolness, pop it in the fridge first. I also rate the Avene and Vichy versions quite highly, so whichever takes your fancy really but regardless, this is a good one to have about.

8: Yes To Cucumbers Daily Gentle Cleanser*
After those hot, sticky nights with practically no sleep (minds out of the gutter, dirt birds!), I like to use this cleanser first thing in the morning as a bit of a wake-up call for my face. I love the smell of cucumber anyway, it reminds me of salads, afternoon tea and Pimms, so it's the perfect Summery scent for a cleanser ever! This is a gentle cleanser that you massage in and then wash off and is suitable for dehydrated, sensitive skin like mine. It also contains Aloe Vera, green tea and vitamins A and C, so if you've overdone it in the sun then it'll help for that too!

What are your go-to Summer skin saviours?

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

Monday 23 June 2014

Beautiful New Books! (Plus a Bonus Mug)

Although I bought two of these myself, this is actually a birthday book post for the most part. There's nothing I love more than a stack of new, lovely books to flick through so I'm very pleased with myself right now.

*smug face*

Himself always buys me a selection of books for birthdays/Christmas/Anniversaries etc because it's my favourite type of gift to get and I always love what he chooses. This time he gave me "The Intelligent Woman's Guide To Socialism, Capitalism, Societism and Fascism" by Bernard Shaw (being a big mad feminist I'm greatly looking forward to this one), "Cat's Eye" by Margaret Atwood (I'm a huge Atwood fan and this is a stunning edition of this book) and this beautiful copy of Romeo and Juliet (I'm obsessed with Shakespeare and this play and squealed a little when I opened this). He also got me this amazing Penguin mug (I've wanted one forever), featuring one of my all time favourite Agatha Christie novels! SWOON.

My friend Sarah gave me the Gizzi Erskine "Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts" as I've been trying to eat a bit more healthily recently. I LOVE Gizzi and cookbooks in general and this fella is packed with beautiful photos, cool illustrations and of course, yummy recipes; I'm already planning on making the spaghetti with pork and chorizo meatballs, the pumpkin and cashew nut curry and the raspberry and passionfruit puddings. There's also a whole section called "lazy brunches" that has my name written all over it. Nom nom nom.

I bought myself "I quit sugar" by Sarah Wilson as I've been on a no-sugar kick of late (until my holiday last week..eep) and had heard a lot about this. She covers tips for giving up sugar, how to cope with cravings and plenty of recipes, including some nice looking desserts. In particular, her Raspberry ripple looks rather delish. 

While away on holidays last week, we visited a fashion museum (more to come on that in a later post!) and I couldn't leave without this book; "Fifty Dresses That Changed the World". It's a small enough book but presents lovely photos with an in-depth description as to why each one has made the impact it has. It's actually a really interesting read and is great for someone like me, that appreciates fashion but isn't as aware of the history behind it as I would like to be. 

And lastly, there's a closer look at my new mug. Yay!

Have you read any of these? Any of them catching your eye?

Tuesday 10 June 2014

The Body Shop Colour Crush Shine Lipsticks | Review & Swatches

I've been eyeing up this latest release from the Body Shop for a while now so I was delighted for the opportunity to try these out. And try them out I have. Plenty. In fact, my other lipsticks (if they weren't inanimate objects) would be getting pretty jealous right about now. 

Launched for Spring, the Colour Crush Shine range are designed to provide sheer pigments and rich moisture. Containing community fair trade Marula oil to seal in moisture and condition lips but without foregoing the super bright shades, these are like having the best of matte lipsticks (for the pigment) married with the best of a balm/gloss (for the conditioning effect). They are the perfect Summer lipstick.

I have three shades to try out; 18 Sunset Romance, a very wearable pink/nude (the classic "my lips only better"), 15 Fushcia Flirt, a warm pink/coral that looks outstanding with a tan and 14 Magenta de Rouge, a blue toned pink, guaranteed to make your teeth look whiter and brighten your complexion.

The Body Shop Colour Crush Lipsticks

The Body Shop Colour Crush Lipsticks

The Body Shop Colour Crush Lipsticks

These are so very softening on the lips, I've worn these all day with no nasty dry skin afterwards. The brighter shades, particularly 14 can sometimes leave a light stain when they wear off but nowhere near as noticeable as a matte lipstick. As for the scent...the brand describe it as rose but (and it took me a good while to figure this out), for me it's earl grey with a slice of lemon. I know, oddly specific but that's actually one of my favourite smells ever so I'm loving inhaling it every time I wear these, even though it is actually quite faint.

The Body Shop Colour Crush Lipsticks

I think you can actually see the differences in the shades best in the swatches below. 18 (Sunset Romance) is my personal favourite, I've worn it every day since getting it; it's perfect for work, daytime and paired with a smokey eye for a night out. 15 (Fuschia Flirt) is bright but still flattering as it has a nice warmth to it while 14 (Magenta de Rouge) is the kind of super bright pink I'm lured to but usually can't wear. Because this is a sheer wash of colour however, it gives the pop of colour I crave but without all the hard work of a matte lipstick (which I also love, I just don't always have the time or inclination for it).  

The Body Shop Colour Crush Lipsticks

These are €12.95 each and are available in The Body Shop now. You may be thinking €12.95 is a bit steep for a sheer lip colour but it's actually a fairly close price point to similar products on the market from the likes of L'Oreal and Maybelline and you've got the added bonus of knowing these are cruelty free and excellent quality. They get my vote anyway and I normally am more cautious about recommending make-up outright as it really can be very subjective. 

What do you think of the colour crush lipsticks? Have you tried any yet?

Monday 9 June 2014

Recently Read | April & May

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
I read this in about two days. I loved it. Gillian Flynn knows how to write creepy suspense novels, that's for sure. I really liked Gone Girl, which divided opinion and I could see why. Sharp objects was her debut novel and my God, is it impressive. This is majorly dark, it reminded me a bit of True Detective actually. Camille is a journalist sent back to her hometown to report on the murder of a young girl and the disappearance of another. Unfortunately for Camille, her family and her past are all toxic to her and considering she has a history of self harm requiring psychiatric care, it's a very dangerous situation for her to be in. Added to that is of course the killer that's roaming around and you have a seriously brilliant crime/thriller. The characters in this are just so complex, it was an absolute pleasure to read, even though it was more than a little disturbing at times. If you like your books a bit more on the dark side then this is the one for you.

The One Plus One by JoJo Moyes
I loved 'Me Before You' and had high expectations for this one too but was sadly disappointed. Jess is a single mum to two kids; a mathematical genius daughter Tanzie and a bullied stepson, Nicky, who is struggling to keep going. Jess works two fairly menial jobs to afford to look after everyone while her ex husband has selfishly legged it off to his mums and offers no help. The inevitable romantic element comes in when Jess needs to get Tanzie to a maths contest in Scotland and a man who she works for (and hates) offers to help. This is fine, it's just not really one of those "I can't wait to see what happens next" books. It didn't capture my attention that much, although I did cry once near the end at an incident regarding the family dog. In general, this wasn't really my type of thing.

Death In The Clouds by Agatha Christie
I haven't read an Agatha Christie since I was much younger and because of that. there's something vaguely comforting about picking up one of her books with a cup of tea in hand. Because of my lapsed memory regarding AC, I had also forgotten how horribly racist she was (two of the main characters both supposed to be likeable have a light-hearted, frivolous conversation about how they "dislike Negroes". Urgh. Sure, it's "of it's time" but that doesn't mean I necessarily want to read it, you know? Death in the Clouds is a Poirot murder mystery set on board a plane from France to the UK. At first it appears one of the passengers has been killed by an errant bee but Poirot uses his grey cells to figure out that it was actually a poison-tipped dart. This, as always is only the start of the intrigue, there's plenty more red herrings and murders along the way. Not her best by a long shot (ha) but not completely terrible either.

Back Story by David Mitchell
I started reading this before Christmas but it's one of those books that I couldn't just fly through- it's actually better suited to reading intermittently. I really like David Mitchell, I always read his columns in the Observer and am a big Peep Show fan but something about this just moved a bit slower than his usual writing. The idea behind it is that Mitchell has injured his back and is advised by his doctor to walk a lot to heal it so the book follows him on his strolls around London where he points out various spots that have been relevant to his life with accompanying opinions on everything from politics to acting, and the occasional anecdote thrown in. Some parts are really entertaining and flow easily, others not so much. I loved the chapter about how he met his wife; his descriptions of love and marriage are beautiful and made me weep like a big sap. I think this would be better suited to an audio book actually, so if you can, get it that way!

One More Thing Stories And Other Stories by B.J. Novak
Novak, known for his role as Ryan the temp in The US Office, wrote a series of quirky and thought-provoking short stories and got all of his friends to read them out for the audio version of this book, which I happily bought. I really liked this one, some of the stories are just genius and had me thinking about them for days after I'd read them. Others were very witty and peppered with some running jokes. I loved hearing the familiar voices of Mindy Kaling, Katy Perry, Carey Mulligan, Lena Dunham, Rainn Wilson, Emma Thompson, Jason Schwartzman, Julianne Moore and Novak himself. 

Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O'Porter
I'd wanted to read this for a while, so I snapped it up when I saw it in the library. It centres on Renee and Flo, two teenage girls growing up in the mid-nineties on Guernsey Island who are both alone and lonely in their own ways, both in need of true friendship. As I'm sure you can guess, they end up together in spite of many obstacles in their path. I really enjoyed this, it felt like an authentic look at the lives of teenage girls; all the embarrassing and cringe-tastic moments included. I like O Porter's writing, it flows nicely and is quite humorous. I'm planning on reading the sequel, 'Goose' next to see how the girls got on after this one ends. 

Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Wolves At The Gate. Issue no. 3
The last of my Buffy graphic novels from Christmas. Dracula makes a reappearance in this one (with reference to Xander as his manservant) and there's some cool action scenes set in Japan. There's also an unexpected Buffy/lesbian storyline. I've since tracked down the next few in the series in my library so you can be sure I'll be ALL over that.

Invincible Ultimate Collection. Volume 1
I got this for the hubster for Christmas, it has the first 13 editions in it so I thought it'd be a good introduction to the series. Invincible is the story of a teenage boy Mark Grayson who discovers that like his super hero father, Omni-man, he is now developing his own powers. He joins a group of other teenage superheroes and they set about doing good and saving the world etc. This is really witty, lots of in-jokes and perfect for superhero nerds like myself. 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl is a YA novel about twins Cath and Wren who decide not to share a room together when they start college. This is very much Wren's decision; she's the more outgoing, socially capable of the two whereas Cath is awkward around others and suffers from a certain amount of anxiety, something which she generally deals with through writing online "fan fiction" about popular character Simon Snow (basically Harry Potter by another name). The book follows her first year in college and how she deals with her dramatically changing life; meeting new people, family issues and coping with burgeoning romance while struggling with college work and maintaining her online fan fiction author persona. I just really enjoyed this book. I loved Cath's character and a certain amount of her anxieties resonated with me. For instance, she's afraid to go to the college canteen because she doesn't know the system; which line to queue in, where to sit, what happens if she makes a mistake at the counter etc. That just seemed like a very real anxiety to me. Also, the slow-growing love story is beautifully written and had me smiling away to myself like a loon. The only thing I didn't overly love about this was all the Simon Snow excerpts..I found them a bit tedious if I'm honest. They're easy enough to skip if they're not really your thing though. Like most YA books, this is more than suitable for an older audience and I'd definitely recommend this one.

The Stand by Stephen King
Reading this was a bit of a personal achievement for me, considering it's 1,153 pages long. Granted, I listened to it on audio so it probably took me longer than it would have anyway. One of my reading challenges for the year is to read more Stephen King and this was one that always comes up in people's favourites lists. 
This is an epic apocalyptic tale; a virus deigned to be a weapon of war is accidentally released at an army base in the US, quickly spreads and results in a massive death toll. Those who are left can be divided into good and evil, represented by two figureheads; the all-seeing Mother Abigail and the terrifying Dark Man. I will admit that I gave out on occasion at just how long this book was. My audio version was divided into 6 parts, each of which were 8 hours long. I felt to start with that it was classic King; a little bit self-indulgent and wondered at times were each very descriptive scene necessary but you know that's the beauty of his books. I feel like I got to know each character so well; they all got a full back story so any time anything happened to any of them it felt a bit like a punch to the stomach. I openly cried at several parts while out for walks. This is one I won't forget in a hurry and if you have the time and inclination for a book that is at times dark, creepy and disturbing but equally emotive, humorous and entertaining then I would definitely recommend it.

The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh
Hailed by many as the read of the Summer, I was really looking forward to this one and also got it on Audible. It starts off really promisingly with wonderful descriptions of a sunny Majorca that left me lusting for a sun holiday. The protagonist, Jenn is in a stable but boring marriage and is enjoying her holiday with her husband until her 15 year old, deeply unpleasant stepdaughter Emma arrives with her cocky, attractive boyfriend in tow. Jenn immediately feels dowdy in comparison and jealous of her closeness to Nathan (the hot boyfriend). From there it basically devolves into a sub par mummy-porn with lots of frankly, unpleasant sex scenes. I could get over the fact that all of the characters are horrible people (I don't need to like any of the characters to enjoy a book, as long as the storyline is engaging. And that's the problem here for me; the storyline just wasn't strong enough. The fraught relationship between Jenn and Emma was interesting but again, there was just way too much Jenn/Nathan scenes for anyone else to get a look in. Overall, meh.

Have you read any of this lot? Thoughts?