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Thursday 31 July 2014

Beauty Hacks

Like life hacks, except with beauty. I'm focusing here on beauty products that do certain jobs that you tend to overlook when beauty blogging- hair removal, foot care, tooth whitening etc. If you want to know about beauty hacks involving making face masks out all of the food in your fridge, then Pinterest is the place for you my friend. For this though, I'm talking things that are necessary but not necessarily fun to think about and using products to help with that. 

1) Ingrown Hairs
Yeah, I know. Glamorous. But this is actually a serious concern. Whether you're shaving or waxing your underarm or bikini line you're running the risk of getting a very nasty ingrown hair. I personally have never had one (touches ALL the wood) but I know of several people who had ingrown hairs that developed into an abscess which had to be surgically drained. One poor girl had them in both underarms at the same time. I could have cried for her because the pain was so bad. So, to prevent that horror from befalling you, you can try Waxperts Ingrown Hair pads*, an Irish run company that produce these little pots of 40 miracle pads to prevent and treat ingrown hairs. 

They contain salicylic acid to open clogged pores and neutralise bacteria, rosemary to act as an anti-inflammatory and panthenol to moisturise, reduce itching and accelerate healing. You can also use them to treat keratosis pillaris (those annoying bumps on your upper arms). After you wax/shave and have showered you just wipe the pad over the area and good news is you can use them on a daily basis. So that's one unpleasant job taken care of!

2) Scaly Feet
I know, no one likes to talk about feet so we'll keep this one brief but these Exfoliating foot masks from Penneys are the business. The first time I used them, himself couldn't stop laughing as a) I looked like a hobbit and b) I couldn't walk properly to the shower when it came time to wash them off. Good times. Anyway, the story is; you pop these little foot bags on for 60-90 minutes, they get to work doing whatever it is they do (they contain natural botanical extracts to remove calluses and chamomile extract to calm the skin), you wash them off and go about your normal life, annoyed as it appears they've done nothing. 

But then in a week to two weeks time, large pieces of dead skin (if you want to leave this blog now and never return, I completely understand. In fact, I'll go with you and we can get a strong drink together to get over the trauma of this whole topic) start to peel off, leaving you with pink, healthy looking feet. Perfect if you have to wear sandals or want to expose your feet to the world. It's also really important then to moisturise your feet as well to maintain your new good condition and you can use anything really. 

I have two moisturises here specifically designed for your feet (they're a bit thicker than a regular body moisturiser would be as the skin on your feet tends to be harder) Clarins Foot Beauty Treatment Cream and Emjoi Micro Pedi Ultra Finishing Foot Cream. Both are really good options but use whatever you have, just don't neglect them!

3) Growing your eyebrows out
Ever gone a little overboard with the old tweezers? Do your pencil-like brows make you sad? A year ago I had an operation, during which they taped my eyes closed but also placed the tape over my eyebrows. Well you can imagine what the outcome of that was but as I was so unwell afterwards it took me a couple of weeks before I could look in a mirror to realise that actually half of my brows were missing on both sides. So I got the hubster to pick me up Rapid Brow Eyebrow Enhancing Serum from Boots. 

Now, I was doubtful about whether it would work or not but amazingly I started to see some improvement within a week. Hairs started to grow back- they were a little thicker and darker than my own natural dark blonde but they were growing back and that's all that mattered! Once they were back to normal I stopped using the brow growth and now my own natural colour brows are back. I'm not saying this will work for everyone so don't rush out and spend your hard earned cash on my say-so but all I know is it worked for me so it's an option if you need it as badly as I did!

4) Teeth Whitening
It's really expensive to get this done professionally so if you know anyone going stateside any time soon, ask them to pick you up a box of Crest 3D White Whitestrips

As I've mentioned before, I used these whitening strips before my wedding and found them great but sadly in the two years since then I've been drinking coffee like it's about to be taken away from me forever so I really need to whiten up. Certain toothpastes are a good option too. I'm seeing a lot of reports that the Beverly Hills Formula Perfect White toothpaste is pretty decent but I haven't tried it myself.

5) Getting rid of Cuticles
Yeah, this one isn't as bad but is annoying nonetheless. I use Sally Hansens Instant Cuticle Remover as it's super fast and easy. 

You pop it along your cuticle line, leave for 15 seconds and then use your cuticle stick to push them back into place. If you do it regularly then you don't have to face the horror of going to get a manicure and having them use that little pincer to pick off your cuticle skin (which CAN hurt by the way!).

6) Bruising Easily
Yeah, I'm like a peach when it comes to bruising. My spacial awareness is way off; I am actually "that woman who walks into doors". My legs are covered in bruises from walking into the hospital beds in work so I started using Weleda Arnica Ointment on them and it really does help. 

They don't disappear immediately but they do change colour quicker and in general move along a lot faster than they would on their own. Saving that, there's Vichy Dermablend concealer to take care of any real shockers.

7) Itchy Scalp
Suffering from an itchy, sensitive scalp can be really unpleasant. A good option is an intensive treatment like Oilatum Scalp Intensive Treatment Shampoo

You use this as you would a shampoo but leave it on for up to five minutes to do it's thing and then wash out. Recommended use is twice a week. For in between washes you could also try Mane n' Tail Daily Control Anti-Dandruff Shampoo and Conditioner which I reviewed HERE if you want to find out more about that.

That's all I have for the moment. Can you think of any other beauty hacks- products that take care of all the unpleasant jobs for you? To the comments!

*Indicates a press sample, gratefully received, all opinions my own, as always!

Edited to mention: Apparently the foot masks are no longer available from Penneys but Cat from Big Blonde Girl has found them in Dunnes. Hurrah! Nice looking feet for one and all!

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Benefit They're Real Push-Up Liner | Review

The whole world and it's mother have probably given their opinion on Benefit's They're Real Push-Up Liner by now but I like to add my own two cents into most things so here we go.

The idea behind this is that it provides a foolproof method of applying your gel/liquid eyeliner without any of the flapping about that comes with using a brush. This has an 'Accuflex Tip" or rubber nib to you and me, specifically designed to "hug the lash line" so you basically just keep it against the lash line and move it along across your eye. 

Sounds like eye make-up for the cosmetically challenged, right? Well, yes and no. It does take more than a couple of goes to get used to this; it's quite different to literally anything I've ever used to apply eyeliner with before so my first attempt was a little shaky but actually, kind of passable. This spurred me on to try again and it definitely got easier. The trick I think is to get right exactly how much of the gel you're using, which comes out by twisting the end of the pen clockwise. Too much and you're going to be going for a big mad 60's look, whether you want to or not and too little and you'll get just the barest of lines. So again, it takes practice and time to get used to it but even at that I'm not sure it's quite as easy as Benefit are claiming it is.

One huge plus is that it does last really well. I left that swatch on my hand all day, through to the next day and in spite of regular washing with soap it was still there later the next day, not as strong but still obviously there. I also tried washing it off my eyes with water and a gel cleanser and it for the most part stayed put, so you'll need a good oil-based eye make-up remover for this one.

Top left and right; without mascara. Bottom left and right; with mascara. I can only apologise for the bags under my eyes, I haven't been sleeping very well. I also haven't been able to leave the house for a few weeks now to get my eyebrows done so just ignore that too. 

Overall, I like this but you definitely do not need it in your life. I think with time and practice it would  make the task of getting equal eye flicks on both sides much less time consuming and would speed up your make up routine in the morning, but the same is true for any eyeliner really. Another downside is the price. This will set you back around €25 (although I got mine for €20 on sale) which is a lot for an eyeliner. This is Benefit, so that is their typical price point unfortunately. It all depends on whether you're willing to spend a bit extra on what could work out to be a more convenient product in the long run or a cheaper product that still does the job but without saving you those extra few minutes in the morning. That's really what it boils down to for me but I already have a feeling that I won't be repurchasing when it's finished, although it's a little early to say- I'm a bit on the fence with this one. 

Have you tried They're Real Push-Up Liner?
What do you think?
Gimmick or genius?

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Bath Fashion Museum (photo heavy!)

We went traipsing all over Cornwall and Devon a couple of months ago but our first stop took us to the very beautiful City of Bath. We loved this place (I'll no doubt have another post on that) but today I just wanted to show you some of the many photos I took from the fashion museum there. I was a bit obsessed with the place if I'm honest as I do love fashion and the opportunity to look at the styles women (and men) wore from the 18th century right up until today was fairly wonderful. I'll mostly let the photos do the talking here cause there are many of them but I took notes on all the different styles so I'll add in a few bits as we go along!

Woman's open robe & petticoat, man's hand embroidered coat (1720), red evening silk damask gown (1750), Brocaded floral silk robe (1780's), yellow woven silk damask gown (1740).
Distinctive bell-shaped skirt from the Georgian period on the left, beautiful black floral number that I annoyingly took no details for. Doh. Sack back dress there on the end, at the time considered an extremely graceful look for women (18th century).
Getting a bit more Austen-y. Mmm, Darcy.
Crazy ass (literally) dresses called 'women's court mantua'. Designed using super fancy silks with the purpose being to look as extravagant as possible. 
Slight turn to the dark side with some late Victorian frocks.
Getting more modern now, going from the 20's up to the 50's..
more 50's, 60's, 80's power dressing, 90's.
These were Princess Diana's 80's dresses. The walls were covered in sketches the designer had drawn for her outfits too, which was quite cool.
Wedding dresses. Serious swoonage at that beaded number on the end there.
Ball gowns, mostly 80's.
More recent ball gowns.
The Dress of the Year' on the left apparently, created by Henry Holland. More previous dresses of the year, including that godawful Versace J-Lo palm print yoke and some distinctly 70's looking gear.
A closer look at that 'dress of the year', and my two favourites in the entire place; last years dress of the year (Dior, swoon) and a rather beautiful glitzy number from the 70's that I think may be Biba.

There was of course a dressing up segment of the day so I went for a bit of Victoriana. Man, those dresses are heavy! Totally down with the bonnet though, perfect for an auld bad hair day. 

Anyone else as much of a ye olde timey fashion obsessive as myself? You really can't beat a bit of vintage!

Monday 28 July 2014

An Ode To My Babyliss Big Hair Styler

When we went away recently on holidays, I once again showed my stalwart packing skills by forgetting to bring ANY hair styling tools whatsoever with me. 
As in, I remembered shampoo and conditioner and my tangle teezer but somehow forgot an actual brush, my John Frieda Hair oil elixir (review HERE), a hairdryer, anything that could possibly add volume to my naturally thin hair and most importantly, my Babyliss Big Hair (yeah, I know, I'm clearly the worlds greatest beauty blogger). 

Now, I got this fella well over a year ago, used it a couple of times and was all "whatever, don't see what all the fuss is about", stopped using it but then about six months ago I picked it up again and said I'd actually make an effort to use it properly. 
Big Hair is basically a spinning brush with different heat settings and an "airstyler"; like a hairdryer it's drying your hair but because of the rotating brush that sucks up your hair with it (don't be alarmed, it's supposed to do that), it's also styling it. Clever. 
I section off my wet hair while also using a volumising product (at the moment I'm trying out one from Bumble & Bumble, which I'll have a review on soon) and then use my Babyliss BH to dry off each section. It actually really does make a big difference to my hair; leaving it smoother, shinier and definitely with more volume going on. It often looks as good as a professional wash and blow dry when I really take my time so I'm saving myself time, money and hassle since I started using it. 
I'm pretty sure I got mine on sale when I bought it but I've just looked up the site and the "new" version (not sure what the difference is to be honest) is €59.99 (HERE). 
Aargh, I know, 'tis pricey but it has proved it's worth to me since I left it at home that time. Seriously; every time I washed my hair while we were away I cursed my forgetfulness. I had crazy bits of whispy hair flying about the place that normally would've been tame and in general I looked like I had the hair of an aesthetically challenged dog, like this fella but obviously less cute:

So yeah, the moral of the story is, number 1) don't be the worst packer in the world and number 2) I love my Babyliss Big Hair.

Have you tried it? If so, what did you think? I know there's both a lot of love and hate for this fella out there so I'd be interested to see what y'all think. 
To the comments!

Saturday 26 July 2014

Weekend Book Review | Quarter Past Two On A Wednesday Afternoon

I've decided to start doing the odd weekend book review as otherwise they all pile up into one big mad monthly review and that can often get a bit out of hand, depending on how much I actually read each month. Anyway, I've read loads this month and thought I'd review this one on it's own. 

To start with, I was intrigued by the title for this and when I read the description it piqued my interest even more. On a sunny Summers day in the 80's, Anna's eighteen year old sister Rose goes missing from their back garden, leaving behind no clue as to where she could be gone. 
Flash forward to the present day and Anna is in her early thirties and struggling to keep up with her peers; she's in a relationship but feels bored and stifled and can't see herself settling down like her friends into marriage and motherhood. At first she fails to realise why this is but when she really thinks about it, it's because the loss of her sister left such an impact on her life that she hasn't really moved on. Neither have her parents who both deal with her loss differently, with her mother appearing to become slightly unhinged as the years go on. 
Anna decides to takes things into her own hands and investigate the disappearance of her enigmatic and beautiful sister all those years ago, primarily through looking up old school friends on Facebook. 
That's as much as I can tell you really without ruining the storyline but what I can say is that you do get a resolution here as to what happened to Rose; which for me personally is pretty important, I can't stand reading books where you spend the entire time trying to figure out the mystery to be told at the end "oh well, I guess we'll never know". Grr.
All of the characters are well developed in this; even Rose via flashback is as clear as day to me and I love the sense of atmosphere the author creates; at times reading it actually felt like a Summers day in my own back garden in the 80's, growing up with my sisters around me and that's some fairly impressive imagery!
What was also great about this was that there was no reasonable way you could really solve the puzzle yourself because Newbery weaves in other secrets and surprises throughout the novel and dedicates each chapter to different characters as well as different eras; the 70's, the 80's, right up to nowadays. Even though there's a lot going on, I felt it moved along at a good pace and was a really enjoyable read. I really didn't want to put it down so I could find out what happened and I will say there's a big old twist in the tale that floored me a bit!
I think this is a great Summer read, it's captivating and you'll quickly become engrossed in it if you take it with you to the beach. 

This was only just published on the 17th of this month so I got a little sneaky peek at it before then but as it's out now you've no excuse not to pick it up for your holidays!

*I received an advance copy of this from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review, which you are always guaranteed on my blog.

Friday 25 July 2014

The Body Shop Fijian Water Lotus | Review

If you still haven't found your perfect summer scent, look no further. The Body Shop have released a new fragrance range to create your own mini tropical paradise using the fresh scent of the Fijian Water Lotus Flower. I have the Eau de Toilette and the Body Lotion to try out, here's what I thought:

The Body Shop Fijian Water Lotus

The Eau de Toilette is a strong but floral scent with a slight hint of masculinity- if you don't like your perfumes super sweet, this is the one for you. Containing top notes of mandarin and litsea (it's a tropical evergreen tree, in case you were wondering!), you then get a hit of the Fijian water lotus flower along with rose, ending in a refreshing blast of fresh ocean scent. What I'm saying is, this really is a Summery scent, and I can't stress that enough. If you want to feel fresh, light and cool in this stifling heat then this is a great option. Personally when it's warm like this, I can't handle wearing any scent that's too cloying, it has to be light- it's all about the airier fragrances at this time of year and the Fijian Water Lotus hits the mark perfectly for that.
Also, let's just take a moment to appreciate that bottle, shall we?

The Body Shop Fijian Water Lotus

So pretty.

I also tried out the Body Lotion from the same range and from this, you can expect a lightweight lotion that comes in a handy pump bottle. On application, it sinks in easily into the skin, moisturises and leaves behind that same beautiful scent as the eau de toilette. You'd do well to layer your scent here by applying both the body lotion and the edt as it will last you all day- I've tried this and at the end of the day I could still smell that fresh summery scent on my skin. Fab.

The Body Shop Fijian Water Lotus

As always with the Body Shop, all of their products are cruelty free and the edt contains community fair trade ingredients.
Also in the range are; perfume oil, a fragrance mist, shower gel and a body butter so you're spoilt for choice!

The edt is priced at €25.95 for 50mls while the body lotion is €15.95 for 250mls.

Have you tried any of the Fijian Water Lotus range?
What's your go-to Summer scent to cool things down?

*PR gift, gratefully received. All opinions my own, as always.

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Come, Look At My Trash!

What's that you say? You're really excited about rummaging through my beauty trash with me? Yay! Me too! It's been so long since I've done an "empties" post that when I noticed I'd actually gathered quite the collection of recyclables I thought I may as well write it up. I quite like empties posts in general. It lets me know what a blogger truly thinks of a product now it's all used up and the crucial question; would they buy it again? Always a good indicator as to whether I NEED something in my life or not.
So on to the rubbish:

  1. My beloved YSL Shocking mascara. I've gone on at length about this before and already have a new one ready to go. It's my favourite mascara.
  2. Roger & Gallet Rose hand cream. I reviewed this HERE and loved it. I will most definitely be buying another one, it's a gorgeous product.
  3. Rimmel Perfect Match foundation. I don't know why but I haven't actually done a full review on this yet, must rectify that. I like this, it's good quality and a good price with a decent skin tone range. It works well for my dry skin and lasts nicely throughout the day. I'm already on to my second bottle.
  4. Clarins flash balm. I squeezed the bejasus out of this to get every last drop; I love the stuff. I use it as a primer and it brightens up my skin and makes me look far more awake then I actually am. Will most definitely repurchase. You can read more about it HERE.
  5. This is a mini size of a L'ancome Hydra Zen moisturiser, one of my favourite products from the brand, which I spoke about HERE. I love these little tubs, they're so handy for travelling. I'm currently trialing about three different moisturisers but I would definitely come back to hydra zen at some point. I do prefer the one for sensitive skin though.
  6. This is a surprisingly nice antibacterial hand gel from Tesco. I know it's boring but I'm including it because it was cheap and smells lovely. I've since found a new love in Soap and glory's hand maid but this is a great option for having in your bag.
  7. I'm actually stupidly proud of this one but I finished a lip gloss. Yes, that's right. I don't think I've ever done that before. This was a Revlon Super Lustrous Gloss that I got in THIS haul and just couldn't stop wearing. It's a beautiful shade (Berry Allure), perfect for my skin tone with no shimmer, just pure deep pink pigment. I loved it and will definitely repurchase.
  8. Boots acetone free nail polish. This was grand and cheap but again, I've moved onto a Lidl one with a clever lid that does the job far better and is super cheap so I wont be buying this one again.
  9. This Ginger Burst Body Wash was part of an Origins set I got for Christmas and reviewed HERE. I love the scent of ginger and this was a lovely way to wake up in the shower on cold mornings; it's a very warming and invigorating scent. Would definitely buy again.
  10. I was so sad to see the end of my Ziaja micellar water. This is an absolute wonder product, taking off all traces of make up with no stinging or tightening of the skin; it's part of their sensitive skin range that I reviewed HERE. I'll be buying a new one and I'd urge you to try it too.
  11. Joico K-Pak Deep Penetrating Reconstructor hair mask. I spoke about this HERE. It's an unusual one in that it smells and looks a bit like mashed banana but is actually a really good hair mask. I had this for a bit long so it stopped working as well towards the end but I would buy it again if I didn't already have several other hair masks on the go. I like Joico as a brand in general.
  12. L'Oreal Elvive Colour Protect Shampoo. This was one my hairdresser recommended to me when I dyed my hair red there a year ago and I guess it was hard to tell to be honest. The colour washed out of my hair at the same rate I think it would have anyway but I felt like I was doing something to help prolong it at least. I've used it since going back to blonde and the same thing really; not 100% sure of it's effectiveness. It's grand. Certainly a lot cheaper than a lot of other "colour extend" products on the market. I'm probably not going to buy it again as I have my eye on a purple toning shampoo for blondes instead.
  13. Lastly, I forced myself to finish this Gentle shampoo from Viviscal which I reviewed HERE. I feel like I may have been a bit harsh in that review because I didn't also have the dietary supplements that go with the shampoo and conditioner and perhaps I could have had a different result had I done so. As it stands, I didn't like either the shampoo or conditioner and felt they did nothing for me. Will not be repurchasing.
And that's all my trash for now. Anyone tried any of this lot? Thoughts? Is everyone proud of me for finishing a lip gloss?!! Let me know in the comments.

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Booktubeathon 2014: The Results!

If you cast your mind back there to a week ago you'll remember me wittering on about a reading challenge set up by well known youtube book reviewer Ariel Bissett, called Booktubeathon. Here are the challenges, as a reminder:

To Read over the space of one week (can double up on challenges):

  • A Book with pictures
  • Start and finish a series
  • A book with red on the cover
  • A book someone else picks out for you
  • A book from the genre you've least read this year
  • A book to movie adaptation
  • Read seven books.

I took part last year and did again this year so here's how I got on;

Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
Also known as 'The Bloggess" because she writes a blog (obviously) Jenny Lawson has had a distinctly unusual and at times hilarious life, which she shares with us in this book. This woman has a very bizarre sense of humour, similar to my own at times and she really doesn't hold back in this; it feels like a stream of consciousness at times where she veers off on random tangents. That said, this was a highly entertaining, laugh-out-loud read that reminded me of David Sedaris, Mindy Kaling, Caitlin Moran or Tina Fey...except on speed. I'm now following her also hugely successful blog for more of the same, I'm a little bit addicted to her particular style of writing thanks to this.
This fits into the "book someone picked out for you" category as my sister Sarah picked it out for me and I'm very pleased she did!

Lord of the flies by William Golding
This was my "genre you haven't read much of this year" (a classic novel) and "cover with red on it". This is a disturbing book about a group of British schoolboys (ranging in age from six to 10/11) who find themselves stranded on an unknown island with no obvious route of escape and more importantly, no adults around. They quickly establish a leader, even though there is a power struggle and because of that they end up drifting into two groups; those who believe the best way to survive is to hunt for the pigs that are on the island for food (avoiding the mysterious "monster" that also resides there) and the group that believes they need to have a constant fire lit to produce a smoke signal for potential rescuers. Well, you probably have some inclination as to what happens as this is a well known classic but basically...things escalate quickly. This is one to avoid if you can't handle violence (I did find myself going "noooo!!" every so often) and I have heard some criticise the ending but personally, I really enjoyed this book. Well written, gripping and terrifying purely because of how true to life this is; it's not hard to imagine a similar scenario playing out like this. Well worth a read if like me, you've foolishly never picked it up before!

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
This one doesn't fit into any of the categories but I had already ticked all of them off and still needed a seventh book so I picked this fella up. Waiting for Godot is a play that first premiered in 1953 about two men; Estragon and Vladimir who are waiting for the eponymous Godot to appear. They bicker throughout the play as to whether they're actually in the right place to meet him, as neither can remember what they agreed upon as the meeting place until a boy comes with a message to tell them they must wait even longer til the following night. There are other weird characters introduced, such as Pozzo and his near-mute slave Lucky, who he treats like an animal and overall it's very surreal. Asked repeatedly what the play meant at the time, Beckett replied "why people have to complicate a thing so simple, I can't make out". So there you go, it is what it is. And no one is sure of what that is, exactly.

Gotham Central by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka
I loved this! My "book with pictures" category had to be a graphic novel as I'm making more of an effort to delve into that genre this year. Plus it's a style I actually really enjoy and anything vaguely involving Batman has my name written all over it. And that's exactly what this is; a graphic novel with vague reference to Batman. This is based around the world of Gotham City Police Department, tough cops who come up against regular gritty crime but have the added extra of villains like Two face, Catwoman and Freeze to deal with also. They all have a bit of a chip on their shoulder about having to contact the B-man for help, but when a case gets too weird or difficult for them they turn on the bat signal. Even then, we only get a few small glimpses of the man himself- this really is more about the cops of GCPD. And I loved that about this; it still has all the excitement of a DC comic but with the added grimness and realism of a cop drama. Speaking of which, they've developed this into a TV series so you might want to get on to reading this if you're a fan of the superhero genre before the show hits Irish TV. 

The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth
I've been meaning to read these number one bestsellers for ages now and this was the push I finally needed- this was obviously the "read a series" challenge and also "a book to movie adaptation". These are Young Adult dystopian novels set in a future Chicago where people are divided into "factions" dependant on their most prevailing characteristic, found through an aptitude test taken as a teenager.
So there's five factions; Amity (general do-gooders), Candour (they say everything how it is, a little bit too honest), Abnegation (selfless society who draw no attention to themselves), Erudite (super smart with a craving for knowledge) and Dauntless (brave, fearless and consider themselves indestructible). Beatrice is the main character, a 16 year old girl who gets her aptitude test back and is shocked to discover that she's actually "divergent", meaning she's suited to more than one faction and is warned strongly to inform no one of this as it's fairly dangerous information.
Anyway, she chooses Dauntless cause she's sick of Abnegation where she grew up and the first book Divergent, is all about the struggles involved in her training to become a fully fledged member of the Dauntless faction. There's the beginning of a love story with a fellow Dauntless, Four, she makes new friends and changes her name to Tris. So far, interesting enough.
Book two, Insurgent tested my patience a bit more if I'm honest. There was a lot of monologue teen angst going on to do with Tris and her guilt about what she's had to do to survive an uprising and not a huge amount happened.
Book three, Allegiant is much the same. Again, not a whole lot happened until the last 20% of the book and let me just clarify that each book is about 500 pages long, so that should be an indicator as to just how much waffling went on about pseudo-science, injections, taking over factions and building new societies etc with a bit of romance thrown in every now and then (on that note, most disappointing sex scene ever. I get that it's YA but these people are of age and supposedly madly in love. Pull it together, Veronica). I did like that Allegiant is told from two perspectives; Tris and her boyfriend, Four and although both of their thoughts were a bit interchangeable at times, I still thought it was an interesting concept. I also thought the ending was well done; rushed, but not your typical YA ending and I appreciated that, even though it wasn't the happiest way things could have gone.
All in all, I wouldn't recommend the Divergent series unless you really are desperate to read them and are young enough not to care about constant repetition in your literature. That said, it can be quite violent so I don't even know how suitable these are for a younger audience. I'm conflicted on these if I'm honest. I've actually yet to see the film but will be getting on to that this week.

One great thing about the booktubeathon is it makes you realise how much you can actually read in a week, if you put your mind to it. Of course, I'm laid up at the moment in bed with a herniated disc in my back so I really don't have any option other than reading but still, food for thought.

Fellow bloggers Breige, Sharon and Roisin also took part in Booktubeathon, so keep an eye on their blogs for their results too!
Have you read any of these? Any of them on your to-be-read list?

Monday 21 July 2014

La Roche Posay for Problem Skin

I've been trying a few bits out from one of my all time favourite skincare brands, La Roche Posay of late and thought I'd show you these three, which target specific skincare woes. 

la roche posay skincare

I myself have dehydrated skin that can verge on the sensitive so the first thing I had my beady little eye on was the Micellar make up remover* from the Rosaliac range (which you may remember came out with the lovely CC cream from the brand that I reviewed HERE). This is designed for "sensitive, fine and reactive skin, prone to redness". I myself don't suffer from Rosacea but again I'm in the sensitive skin department and it can definitely be reactive when exposed to anything too strong or products with too many ingredients. The idea with this is that you apply to your face either with your fingers or a cotton pad and gently wipe it off. It can be used on eyes as well. 

la roche posay rosaliac cleanser

This is a gel texture so because of that it feels very comforting on the skin, there's no discernible scent and it does remove make up (I generally have to use a separate eye make-up remover but that's more to do with my own issues with over use of mascara than anything else). My only gripe with this is that it's designed so that you don't have to rinse it off afterwards (less friction causing less irritation to the skin), which I physically can't do; I feel like I still have both make up and cleanser stuck to my face and that my skin isn't prepared for serum or moisturiser until it's washed off. So, I wash it off but that in itself is seriously time consuming; it's not easy to get it off as being a thick enough gel, this stuff really wants to stick around. Again though, that's me using it incorrectly. If you do suffer from Rosacea or very sensitive skin this would be well worth trying but for those of us just borderline on the same issue, a regular, less specifically targeted cleanser is probably a better option. 

la roche posay effaclar duo plus

I've also been trying out Effaclar Duo +, a treatment for imperfection prone, clogged skin* that fights against marks and an be used in the treatment of acne. Now, again, I don't suffer from acne but I have plenty of old spot scars and I still get the occasional spot at certain times of the month *shakes fist at Mother Nature* so I've been using this for both of those issues and have found it excellent. This is again, a kind of gel/cream formula that blends into the skin remarkably well and smells amazing. It's been suggested out there on t'interwebs that you can also use this as a primer if you do suffer from acne and I can see how this would be amazing for that as it smooths the surface of the skin beautifully and gives a matte finish. I personally haven't used it as a primer as I feel it's so concentrated it might be too much for my skin but it's definitely worth a shot if acne is your primary concern. Like all LRP products, this is also paraben free.

la roche posay hydraphase intense masque

Lastly and relatively new on to  the market is the Hydraphase Intense Masque, a soothing, rehydrating thermal bath for sensitive skin. Ooh, doesn't that just sound heavenly? Well, it is. I picked this fella up in the recent Cara pharmacy sale because so many bloggers rave about the original hydraphase masque, I felt it was about time I got in on the action. So this one is obviously right up my street, considering I've been harping on about dehydrated, sensitive skin this whole time. Story with this is it contains Hyaluronic Acid fragments (they grasp on to any water in the skin and hold on to it for dear life, leaving skin as hydrated as possible) as well as a high concentration of LRP Thermal Spring water (a natural anti oxidant to soothe any irritations). This again has a gel/cream texture and feels incredible on the skin. I use it twice a week, applying a generous layer for ten minutes while I catch up on Coronation Street. After 10 minutes you just tissue off the excess; everything else has been absorbed and your skin is now left super soft! Magic! Definitely two thumbs up for this fella. 

Have you tried any of these or any you're interested in? What did you think of them?

*indicates press sample, gratefully received but ALL opinions my own, as always!

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint | Review

I've been meaning to try the Gelly Hi-Shine polishes from Barry M for ages now and I think it was a post from Pink Elephant Blog that finally made me pop them in my Boots basket. These are the perfect Summer blues and with this particular formula, they look even shinier and brighter on the nail when the sun hits them than a regular polish would.
Here, I have Blueberry and Huckleberry to show you:

Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint

Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint

Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint

Blueberry, on the left is showing up slightly darker than it is in real life (it actually looks more like the shade in the bottle in that middle picture) and is a gorgeous vibrant pastel, if that makes sense. While Huckleberry on the right is a beautiful powdery duck egg blue and goes with practically everything. I only needed two coats for Blueberry but gave three for Huckleberry just cause it's a paler shade. Even though these result in a shiny finish, I still applied a top coat, purely out of habit. They lasted me about 4-5 days without chips and even then it was just slight tip wear. I got these as part of a 3 for 2 in Boots but regardless, they're only €5.99 each, so quite the bargain.

Have you tried any of the Gelly Hi-Shines? Any other shades I should be going for?

Monday 14 July 2014

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream | First Impressions

My sister bought a pot of the much sought after Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream after a lengthy conversation between the two of us about how incredible it looks. Luckily for me, she not only let me be its official inaugural opener (and therefore photographer) but she also got me my very own very generous sample size pot so I'll show you exactly what it looks like in all it's packaged glory and then what my own first impressions are of using it also.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream

Firstly, CT knows how to package properly, am I right? Sweet Valley High, that is a thing of beauty right there! Each layer is like a work of art. The art deco style pot itself is also stunning and overall it conveys a feeling of pure luxury. 
The second thing I noticed was the scent, which is a very faint floral- rose to be exact but so delicate and in no way overpowering. 
The cream itself feels thick on your fingers but melts into the skin completely- there was not a trace left after I'd massaged it in but my face felt soft and with no residual tightness that can sometimes occur after cleansing. 
Also, and this could be just a figment of my imagination but my skin looked more polished or something; like I'd happily have gone out wearing just the moisturiser and no foundation because my face had a healthy sheen and the surface of my skin looked that bit smoother. Having said that, I also think it would be a great base for make up; my sister has worn make up over it and it looked completely natural on her and stayed put, so no greasiness either. I know what you're thinking; witchcraft (probably where the magic part comes in) and you could well be right. 
Although this has an SPF of 15, I know that I'd personally be reluctant to wear it every day, purely because of the price but then how do you save a moisturiser "for best"? I don't know, I just know that if I owned this I'd probably be rationing it while stroking it and whispering "my precious" a lot. 
Luckily, my sample size should last me about a month (it's slightly bigger in size than a pot of Nuxe reve de miel) so I'll get a longer term feel for it and let y'all know what I think then but for now, this gets two enthusiastic thumbs up. 

At €90, I know this isn't something that everyone is going to be rushing out to buy but if I could afford it myself, I would be first in line. This may not be actual magic but it is a truly beautiful moisturiser.

P.S, we're also already booked in to get our make-up done when the full range is released in September so I'll report back then when I get all the info on what you definitely need (which will probably be everything).