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Friday 26 September 2014

MyChelle Dermaceuticals Deep Repair Cream & Creamy Pumpkin Cleanser | Review

New to House of Fraser Ireland is the MyChelle Dermaceuticals counter where you can have a free skin analysis to decide exactly what your skin type is and what you should be using specifically for you. I love this idea, so many people are unsure of what skin type they have and this takes the guess work out of it. MyChelle have been around since the year 2000 and are cruelty free, vegan friendly and NOP certified organic so I had high hopes for their products when I was offered the chance to try them for myself. 

MyChelle Dermaceuticals Deep Repair Cream & Creamy Pumpkin Cleanser

I didn't have my skin type assessed as I was restricted by a bad back at the time and couldn't make it to HoF but at the ancient age that I am, I've figured out through years of trial and error that I have dry/sensitive skin. I don't suffer from dry patches but my skin can feel tight, stretched and dried out if I don't use the right products for it. 

MyChelle Dermaceuticals Creamy Pumpkin Cleanser

I've been trying out the Creamy Pumpkin Cleanser; a purifying, moisturising, hydrating and vitamin-rich creamy moisturiser to keep your skin ultra-soft and clean. Suggested use is a small amount massaged into the skin with warm water, rinsing completely and then moving on to serums, moisturisers etc. For me, a cleanser is no good to me unless it can take off my make-up so I put it to the test with a full face of slap, including loads of eye make-up. I removed it with cotton wool and it worked really, really well. I had no make up left upon checking afterwards with a toner soaked cotton pad and my face didn't have that tell-tale tight feeling that you get with some cleansers. I think that may well be due to the ingredients; free from parabens, phthalates, ureas, petroleum-based chemicals and artificial colours, which all sounds rather good. What it does have is vitamins and exfoliating enzymes, pumpkin fruit and honey to hydrate and refine the skin's surface, blue green algae which is rich in minerals and antioxidants to fortify the skin and help soothe any redness or irritation. I really like this cleanser. The smell is actually good enough to eat; I get a hit of ginger, honey and lemon with a bit of coconut. It feels really comforting on and I would definitely recommend this fella for those of you with dry skin.

MyChelle Dermaceuticals Deep Repair Cream

I've also been using the Deep Repair Cream for dry skin, designed to revive youthful radiance, improve firmness, strengthen the skin's barrier function and support cellular renewal. This guy contains Kombuchka Black Tea to improve the smoothness of the skin, algae derived Venuceane to protect collagen and prevent moisture loss and shea butter for extra nourishment. This has a light, inoffensive herbal-scent and reminds me a bit of Dr Hauschka products. It has a light weight almost gel-cream texture but needs to be well massaged to be absorbed by the skin. At first I struggled a bit with this one; I wasn't sure whether it was thick enough for my dry skin but I think that may well be just that I'm not used to a lighter formula. I've found that when I spend extra time massaging it in it either absorbs well and leaves my skin feeling softer or else it creates a ehm..balling situation (I hope you have some idea of what I mean there, no other way of describing it unfortunately) on my skin, regardless of how well I've cleansed beforehand. I'm not sure why it only does that occasionally but I'm assuming it's an issue with my particular skin as there's no reason for it to only do this every now and then- I'm wondering is it leftover cleanser and I'm just not washing that off properly before moisturising. Other than that I do like this, I just need to figure out that one issue! I do think it would work for the most sensitive of skins as well. 

Have you spotted the MyChelle counter in House of Fraser? Would you try out their skin analysis?

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Irrational Hatred of the Hairdressers

Today I posted the below photo on twitter of me looking very sad after getting my hair cut, to which I got a huge response of "ah you look great!" (thanks everyone, yisser all legends) but also a lot of "I hate it when you don't get what you asked for". I'm assuming then that I'm not alone in vehemently hating a trip to the hairdressers. I generally will avoid it for as long as possible and although I'm pretty good at dyeing my own hair I have yet to master any vague sort of cutting skills so that is one thing I just can't skip.
I explained that I was trying to keep the length so I just wanted a small amount taken off and to freshen up my side fringe, no layers. Instead I got layers, an arseways version of 'The Rachel' circa 1996 and I'm also somehow now the proud owner of a long bob. Overall, this is not too dissimilar to the time my sister decided to give me a bowl hair cut mere days before my first Holy Communion, thus giving our mother a conniption at the same time.

This all came about because I was engrossed in a Dawn O' Porter article in Glamour at the time and honestly, she had the whole thing finished by the time I'd read those two pages. When I looked up (what felt like five minutes later) there seemed to be a lot gone but I thought once it was dried it'd be better. Well I was wrong yet again because she then proceeded to give me an insane Stepford Wives style blow dry. I know what you're thinking- you should have complained, but honestly, the blow dry was fixable myself (straighteners and curlers at the ready) and the cut was fine- it was just more off than I expected. Really, what can you do about that? It's not like she could glue it back. The manager spoke poor English and I just couldn't face attempting pidgin Italian and making a complete fool of myself. Instead I left quickly, repeating "hair grows back, hair grows back, hair grows back" on repeat in my mind, like Jack Nicholson but less axe murder-y. 
Then I got to thinking of all the times I've gone to the hairdresser and left in a foul mood because I didn't get what I asked for. Of course I've had some good experiences too with excellent hair stylists, it just feels like the bad outweighs the good. I honestly don't know whether this is in a similar vein to how I hate getting my make up done or not. In that circumstance I avoid it because it's never done how I like it and I really can always do a better job myself. But with my hair, even if I show them a picture of my own hair from a previous time and say "that's what I want", it still somehow rarely works out. 

Am I alone in this too or do you have a less irrational (some would say normal) attitude to getting your hair done? 

Monday 22 September 2014

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Palette & Lipstick | Review

This is one collection I've been waiting for with much anticipation and as it's limited edition I didn't take  a huge amount of time to mull over whether I needed it or not. Plus I only own one of the Urban Decay naked palettes so I kind of owed it to myself. Ahem. Anyway, this collection was brought out for the 20th anniversary of the release of cult classic Pulp Fiction, possibly one of the coolest films of all time with possibly one of the coolest female characters ever, Mrs Mia Wallace, the ever beautiful Uma Thurman.

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Palette & Lipstick

I picked up the eyeshadow palette and the lipstick and as with all UD products, the quality is superb with these. The packaging is also pretty incredible. 

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Palette

The palette is furnished with the iconic Pulp Fiction font and a quote from Jules Winnfield. Excellent. Inside there's a large mirror, a double ended brush (which is actually pretty decent. No horror-inducing sponges here, that's for sure) and five eyeshadows, three of which are brand new. Designed to create a smoky eye, you also get a super easy step-by-step guide with a helpful drawing of Mrs Wallace there in case you'd forgotten what you're going for:

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Palette

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Palette

Righteous is a matte cream shade and although it doesn't show up in the swatch, it works really well as a base shade on the eye. Tyranny again is a matte and is a pure chocolate-y brown while Vengeance is a dark brown satin. These two blend beautifully together and compliment my blue eyes perfectly. Furious is a matte black powder liner and Anger is a pearl frost shade for the inner eye and highlighting the brow bone. Again, Anger doesn't show up hugely well in the swatch photo but it's actually a really good highlighter when on the eye. 

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Palette

Left to right; Anger, Furious, Vengeance, Tyranny, Righteous. 

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Palette
Using all four, as per the guide.

The palette gets a huge thumbs up for me, you could easily wear this in a daytime friendly way and then for night time; smoke it up even more, adding liquid liner as well for added oomph. The shadows are really pigmented, so easy to blend and all work very well together. I can see this taking over as my eyeshadow palette of choice.

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Lipstick

The lipstick, in the shade Mrs Mia Wallace (best name for a lipstick ever) is housed in a gunmetal case and twists up to reveal a truly stunning deep red. This, ladies and gents is my kind of colour. 

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Lipstick

I kind of wish I'd also bought the accompanying lip liner with this as it's a tricky one to apply. I used a nude lip liner as I had it to hand but I also needed a lip brush cause it really needs extra care in applying it- it's seriously pigmented and runs the risk of going all over the shop. It's worth it though because this is just a beautiful rich ruby red with a lovely sheen and is my ideal red for Autumn/Winter. 
Longevity is surprisingly good with this too, I needed a top-up after eating but otherwise it didn't budge and even at that there was still a good amount left on my lips after lunch. It's not a drying formula either as it's more of a satin so it'll be good for the upcoming colder months too.

There's also a glitter eyeliner, a nail polish and as I said, a lip liner in the collection. If you're interested I'd get them now as they're limited edition and selling fast. 

Have you bought anything from the collection? 

Friday 19 September 2014

Dublin Culture Night 2014- What's On?!

I love Culture Night in Dublin and have attended almost every year that I've lived here so far. Unfortunately this year I won't be able to but I've compiled a mini itinerary for you if you are out and about and are wondering what's on. 
Firstly a bit about it; culture night runs throughout Ireland annually to celebrate culture, creativity and the arts. Hundreds of cultural institutions open their doors for free and extend opening hours so you can go for a nice meal or a drink after work and then pop along and see something beautiful free of charge in your own city that you've always meant to check out but never got around to. While it is on throughout the country, as I said, for this post I'm just focusing on Dublin, although I'd imagine Limerick will have plenty to offer too, being city of culture this year. 
Unfortunately, a lot of the events in Dublin are already booked out but there's still time to get in on this lot:

Glasnevin, Casino Marino, Christ Church and performers from Dublin's writer's forum.Photos via Culture Night website.
  • Glasnevin Cemetery. We went to this a while back and loved it. While it sounds grim, the history of the place is absolutely fascinating. The museum is open from 5-9pm but sadly the cemetery tours are now booked up for the night. The museum itself is really interesting though and you can still walk around the graveyard and play "spot the 1916 rebels" if you're so inclined. Or, you know, go back another time and do the full tour cause it really is excellent. Also, make use of the cafe. They make a mean lemon drizzle cake. You'll need sugar and warm tea after the graveyard as it can be quite emotional.
  • Casino Marino. This is actually one on our list that we've never been to so we'd definitely be going now if we could! This is described as an "architectural gem…cleverly disguising an interior of lavishly decorated plasterwork and richly patterned marquetry floors, hidden inside a neo-classical temple, bathed in a kaleidoscope of colour changing lights!" Wowzers! Open from 5-9pm.
  • Christ Church Cathedral. We did this a couple of culture nights ago and it was really cool. Christchurch is obviously one of the more stunning historical Dublin buildings and at night time there's something extra special about it. Open from 6-10pm there'll be music, storytelling for children, a silent film screening and the opportunity to explore the church and it's surroundings. Be prepared to queue for this one as it can be very popular.
  • The Workman's Club are hosting the Dublin Writer's forum for a spoken word and open mic poetry event from 5-11pm with a musical interpretation of Ulysses kicking off at 9.30pm.
The long room, Little museum of Dublin, BFG cake!!, Merrion square. Photos via Culture Night website.
  • The Old Library & Book of Kells. I don't really need to give a reason for why you need to go to this, do I? Open from 5-10pm, you don't need to book for this but again, prepare to queue.
  • The Little Museum of Dublin. Again, we spent a Sunday afternoon here recently and loved it. I actually can't recommend it enough. This is the people's museum of Dublin in the 20th Century, with exhibitions over three floors. There'll be free guided tours on the night along with special performances and a "few surprises" apparently. Open 5-9.30pm.
  • Roald Dahl Cake Exhibition. In case you missed this last weekend in Temple Bar, you can head to Waterways Ireland visitor centre to celebrate the life and work of Dahl in the best way possible- through cake! There'll also be workshops on cupcake design, cake decorating and french truffles. Open from 7-9pm.
  • "Downstairs Dublin", Merrion Square. I love the buildings in Merrion square and they're all coming alive for one night! Featuring a series of "talks, installations, projections and pop up events in the outside basement spaces", you have to look down to discover "mini-stages, surprises, live debates, music, food, art, drama, dance from leading artists, writers and thinkers". I love the idea of wandering from each house to the next and discovering something completely different in each outdoor basement! How exciting! This would be top of my to-do list to be sure! From 5-10pm.
As always, there's loads more you can do, including; walking tours, art exhibitions, visiting Dublin's landmark buildings and galleries and if I were you, I'd fit in as much as possible. It's such a wonderful night and celebration of our culture and heritage, I'm actually jealous of everyone who's going! You can find out more from the Culture night site HERE. Let me know in the comments if you're planning to visit anywhere or what your own past experiences of culture night have been! 

Thursday 18 September 2014

Charlotte Tilbury FilmStar Bronze & Glow Face Sculpt & Highlighter | Review

I'm back! I feel like I've been away from my own little corner of the internet for far too long and so I'm returning with a bang! Maybe not quite a bang, I'm still hobbling a bit from my broken back but I'm hobbling with a nicely bronzed visage thanks to this stunner. The whole beauty blogging world has gone a bit mad of late over all things Charlotte Tilbury. In Ireland, we recently had a full launch of her beauty range in Brown Thomas Dublin and having tried her Magic cream (Review HERE), I was eager to see what else I needed (not wanted, this is definitely a case of "need"). Having decided beforehand that I was really interested in this fella and one of the colour chameleons (expect a review at a later date), I had to practically fight off the make up artist at the counter to avoid being talked into spending the bones of €400 on everything else she tried to convince me to buy- I'll go into that in more detail at the end of the post.

Charlotte Tilbury Film Star Bronze & Glow Face Sculpt & Highlighter

For now, let's talk about this beauty. Here's what Charlotte has to say about this product: 
"It's amazing what clever shading and highlighting tricks can do to contour your facial framework. You can slim, sculpt and illuminate- it's an illusion I use all the time for my clients. Enhance your natural assets with filmstar bronze and glow!"

I'm actually really into contouring at the moment, not in a terrifying Kim Kardashian way but I know when I make the effort and apply bronzer and highlighter carefully, my face looks slimmer and my cheekbones look like they're there for a reason, other than holding my face up, obviously. There's lots of excellent contouring palettes on the market and for a lot cheaper than this; Sleek and Inglot to name just two but what really sets this apart is firstly, the packaging:

Charlotte Tilbury Film Star Bronze & Glow Face Sculpt & Highlighter
Charlotte Tilbury Film Star Bronze & Glow Face Sculpt & Highlighter
Charlotte Tilbury Film Star Bronze & Glow Face Sculpt & Highlighter
Angels sing..
Charlotte Tilbury Film Star Bronze & Glow Face Sculpt & Highlighter
Charlotte Tilbury Film Star Bronze & Glow Face Sculpt & Highlighter

Is that too much ogling? Possibly but I actually can't stop looking at it. And now for the glorious inside:

Charlotte Tilbury Film Star Bronze & Glow Face Sculpt & Highlighter

There she is in all her art deco beauty. SWOON. 
Not only does this look stunning in the palette but it is a dream to apply; there's absolutely no fear that you can tango yourself here, while the bronzer is pigmented, it's also designed to be built up- it's not orange and will suit most pale skin tones. 
This means that you can apply it in layers and it in turn gives you a gentle, natural glow. I actually almost didn't buy it because it appeared to have a shimmer running through it and I prefer a matte bronzer. However, the make up artist assured me that it's a matte bronzer and someone had just swirled a brush in the highlighter and transferred the shimmer to the bronzer. Well, it turns out on closer inspect that that was a lie as it very much has shimmer in it. It is incredibly subtle though and you won't look like you're off to a teenage disco. In fact, once it's on my face I can't see any shimmer at all but it does add to an overall glow. 
The highlighter is a very understated golden champagne that provides a stunning soft focus to the skin. Together, those are a winning couple. I tried this out a day after surgery in hospital but told no one I was wearing it and had several people exclaim how well I looked and that I must've slept well the night before (I hadn't, I was in a four-bedded ward) but I took that as confirmation of the almighty powers of the bronze and glow. 
If you were looking for anything to get from the range I can heartily recommend this, having tried most of her other products. This came up trumps and is possibly the best contouring palette on the market, in my humble opinion. 

Charlotte Tilbury Film Star Bronze & Glow Face Sculpt & Highlighter
Pre nap, poorly taken photo on my phone but don't I look all glowy and healthy?! (not taken in hospital fyi).

And now, on to my gripe. While the CT sales assistants/make up artists seem excellent at their jobs, they really do go for the hard sell. Every product I already use was dismissed as not being as good as the CT version, if I wanted the bronzer well then I had to get a brush to go with it, if I wanted the colour chameleon then I had to also buy the pencil sharpener. Except that I didn't. I have a pencil sharpener and plenty of excellent brushes and I don't appreciate feeling pressured into spending money on things I don't need. Even as I was paying "are you sure you don't want a lipstick?" I had expressed no interest in buying a lipstick (UNUSUAL, I KNOW). Just let me pay!! For me, I can happily say "no thanks, I don't need or want that" but it doesn't add to an overall pleasant shopping experience and so this is more of a word of warning if you're going in for a snoop. Be prepared for the ultimate hard sell!

That aside, there are plenty of other gorgeous looking CT items I have my eye on! Have you tried anything yet?

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Eyeliner Trio

I've done it. I've finally gotten my grubby paws on some Physicians Formula. Huzzah! Being a stateside brand, we've found ourselves bereft of their shiny cosmetic glory over here, until that is they launched in Ireland a few months back. Today I have a trio of eyeliners to show you that are designed to enhance your eye colour and add extra definition. These come together in a set and retail at around the 9/10 euro mark (if my US dollar to Euro conversion is correct). There's four sets available in this range; for blue eyes (that's what I have), green eyes, hazel eyes and brown eyes.

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strip Eyeliners

The blue eyes set contains a golden bronze, a dark metallic blue and a black with a blue shimmer running through it. The formula for these is soft enough so that it's easy to apply without dragging the delicate skin on the eyelid, you can smoke it out a bit before it sets if you want but once it sets, that's it! Smudging is not an issue once it's dried, which is almost straight away. Durability is key here and I've been able to apply these in the morning and only topped them up late in the day if necessary. 

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strip Eyeliners

They come in a twist up tube with a removable sharpener at the bottom.

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strip Eyeliners

Unfortunately, I do have a gripe with these and that's that they can snap off easily if you twist them up too much. That's obviously easily avoidable but the first time it happened I don't think I'd actually even twisted them that much to warrant two of them breaking in succession but I guess I had. Let that be a warning to you!

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strip Eyeliners

The gold is my favourite and really makes my blue eyes pop. I think the blue is a nice change from wearing black liner and really this is more of a navy, which is always softer on the eye. I liked the idea that the black has a shimmer running through it but in all honesty, that doesn't show up hugely clearly when it's on the eye- it mostly just looks like black liner. Which is fine too, just as it's marketed as a shimmer liner to be aware that it's not quite as shimmery on (for me at least) as it could be.

Up to date stockist list

Have you tried the shimmer strips eyeliners?
Have you any Physicians Formula recommendations?

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

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Recently Read | August

My back is still banjaxed so I'm still on my reading roll. Last month I read this lot plus weekend book reviews HEREHEREHERE and HERE, in case you missed them. These were all either library finds, were in the Amazon Kindle sales (seriously, I'm talking a euro!), or were from NetGalley so it's been a frugal month book-wise! Here's everything else I read (bar a pre release of the new Marian Keyes, which I'm waiting a while to pop up the review for as it isn't out until November!):

The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes
This is my third JoJo Moyes novel and I liked this more than The One Plus One although I liked it slightly less than Me Before You...I hope that's a helpful barometer! In this one we're told two stories; that of Sophie in France in 1916, trying to keep her family safe against the invasion of German officers while her artist husband fights at the front and the story of Liv, in modern times, still mourning the loss of her husband while she struggles with finances and being alone. What connects them both is a painting by Sophie's husband, depicting Sophie herself. The painting causes series troubles for Sophie with the German soldiers and again for Liv when she is faced with having to return it (it's now hers, given to her by her deceased husband) to the ancestors of Sophie who claim it was stolen and is a war crime. For Liv, the painting is all she really has left of her husband and so she fights this tooth and nail, although in doing so she may also lose everything else that she has. Depicting two beautiful love stories, spanning a century apart, this is a well told story that ties everything together nicely and overall is just a good, solid read that you may have trouble putting down. Definitely worth checking out. 

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Set in post first world war London, we follow around socialite Clarissa Dalloway for "a day in the life", where she makes the final plans for a party she's throwing that night. Throughout the day, we meet several different characters including Peter Walsh, an old former love interest. Through Peter we also meet a war veteran suffering from PTSD, hallucinations and suicidal ideations. The book culminates with Clarissa's party where most of the characters we've so far met are in attendance with an unfortunate outcome for the soldier. Like I said in my Goodreads review, I struggled a fair bit with this book, which I mostly put down to the actual style of writing used by Woolf. Anything written using a stream of consciousness and I lose the ability to concentrate, so much so that it took me forever to finish this because I had to keep putting it down to read something else instead. I just can't get along with all of that flitting in between the different characters thoughts, direct and indirect speech and actions at the rate that it does. This is similar in style to Ulysses in that respect, although somehow I still prefer Ulysses…I found it hard to like the character of Clarissa all that much and so I also struggled with listening to her many thoughts.

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
Yeah I know, it's quite the disparity, having the YA version of Sex and The City next to Virginia Woolf but I needed something trashy to read and as I'm still loving all things Carrie related, I said I'd give this a go. It's actually fairly different to the TV series of the same name; it still follows Carrie when she's a teenager growing up in small town Castlebury, grappling with the loss of her mother and her rebellious teen sister but her love interest Sebastian is a scumbag in the book and nothing really major even happens in this- in the TV show there's a whole thing about her getting an internship in a magazine in New York. The most that happens in the book is that she's betrayed by her best friend, although all of her friends seem horrible at the best of times anyway. It ends with her arriving in the Big Apple and meeting a well known future character which makes me vaguely interested in reading the next one…but only if I get that for 99p also. Otherwise, I won't bother.

The Nightingale Girls & The Nightingale Sisters by Donna Douglas
The Nightingale Girls was actually sent to me by NetGalley to read in exchange for my honest review and the good news is that I loved it. I have a not so secret love for these sort of old school nursing stories; think Call the Midwife and you're on a similar track here. This is the first book in a five part series that follows three young student nurses from their first year of training in the prestigious Nightingale hospital in London in 1936. The three girls share a room together and they couldn't be any more different- Dora is a tough eastender from a poor background with an abusive stepfather who is determined to get away from that and make a success of herself. Helen is quiet and studious and avoids friendship with the rest of her class as she's under pressure from her overbearing mother to be a model student while Millie is from an aristocratic background and wants something more from her life other than parties and being dependant on a husband. All three struggle in their own ways with the pressures of being a student nurse in pre-war England but also with their own personal lives, their families and trying to find love. The characters are really well developed in this and I was so sucked in, I downloaded the second book- The Nightingale Sisters straight away and devoured that really quickly too! In the second book, the girl are in their second year of training and although they're becoming better at their jobs they still have a lot of the same personal struggles as well as the hardships they face on the wards; unpleasant duties, working long arduous hours and exams but mostly being treated poorly by the ward sisters who we learn more about in this book. Turns out they're not all bad; like most human beings they're multi dimensional and again, their characters are really well developed. While it touches on some serious topics it's also quite heartwarming; to me these are the ultimate comfort reads. Number three is coming up next..can't wait!

Summer's Child by Diane Chamberlain
Again, this was a 99p purchase on amazon and I thought it'd be a good Summer read what with the title and all. The story here is that 11 year old Daria finds an abandoned baby on the beach beside her house one morning. Amazingly, the newborn is still alive and because her family falls in love with her, they adopt her. Fast forward to 22 years later and the baby, Shelly, is now grown up and living with her two adoptive sisters Daria and Chloe, still in the beach house near where she was found. Shelly has grown into a sweet young woman who appears to have suffered some level of brain damage from the trauma of her birth and is incapable of leaving her hometown. She's determined though to find out who her birth mother was and so contacts TV presenter Rory Taylor, who used to live in her small seaside town but now presents a programme solving old mysteries in California. He agrees to help and returns to his old home with his son for the summer. From there we get treated to more than a few fairly drawn out red herrings, loads of secrets, a big mad storm and an accident, a bit of romance and a lot of nonsense. Nothing really happens in this for most of the book which became fairly frustrating after a while but even with that, this was just a grand easy read. If you're looking for a book that involves no concentration whatsoever (sometimes we all need one of those!) then this is for you!

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 8, Volume 3 by Joss Whedon et al
Ah Buffy, my one true TV love. If you read my book review posts then you'll know I'm trying to read more graphic novels this year and I'm loving the Buffy series. This is volume three and the last available to me in any of my nearby libraries. Boo. This one sees the return of lots of old Buffy characters; Harmony is back and is now a Vampire reality TV star, Riley shows up and Warren and Amy are still hanging around, trying to bring down the Buffster and the rest of the operation. Again, the drawings are perfect and the writing is as sharp and quick witted as ever. Must get my hands on more!!

The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman
I've wanted to read Maus for ages and am shamefully only getting around to it now. Art Spiegelman is an American cartoonist who interviewed his father in order to tell his story of his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. Spiegelman, using his fathers narration, paired it with his drawings depicting Jews as mice, Nazis as cats and pigs as non-Jewish Poles. Given the subject matter it is pretty heavy going in parts but the fact that it's broken up by flitting between times, i.e the Holocaust and 1970's New York (when the interviews are taking place) definitely helps to break up the story somewhat. The drawings are skilfully done and although it's both heartbreaking and deeply unsettling, it's also a brilliant piece of work. Plus it won the Pulitzer prize in 1992 so it's well worth a read.

Wolverine & Gambit: Victims by Jeff Loeb & Tim Sale
Himself picked this one up for me in the library as I'm a fan of anything X-Men and again, graphic novels. In this one, Wolverine and Gambit both find themselves mysteriously in London trying to solve a modern day Jack the Ripper, which they both find themselves being blamed for..but are they being set up? Well, yes. Obviously. And that's where this one falls down for me. It was an interesting premise but was predictable and not enough happened. Overall I felt they could have done a lot more with what they had.

And that's the lot for August! What have you read lately?

Wednesday 3 September 2014

New! Max Factor Gel Shine Lacquers

When these arrived in the post the other day I gave a little squeal; these nine stunning jewel toned polishes from Max Factor tumbled out of the package and straight into my heart. Yep, I'm going for THAT level of cheese here because dammit, this collection is pretty great. Inspired by certain decades to "create a modern glamour collection", the idea is that you get both intense colours but with a high shine- hence the gel shine lacquer part. 

Max Factor Gel Shine Lacquers

What makes these different from your other gel-type polishes on the market? Well, the brand claim that with most other polishes you can't always get great colour, longevity and high shine but the gel shine nail lacquers utilise a "smart new technology" to do just that. So here's the science bit:
*puts on glasses and gets out beakers and graphs and whatnot*

  • That high pigment is as a result of Bentonite Clay Gel. I can vouch for the pigmentation in these guys, very impressive- some of them only need one coat to be opaque.
  • High shine is due to a thicker formula; this stops the polish from moulding into the natural ridges of the nails so you're left with a smoother and therefore, shinier finish. It also "self-levels", which is a new one on me but means that you're left without streaks, brush marks or lines.
  • Lastly, longevity wise, the addition of a "two-fold patented plasticizer" (try saying that really fast after a few drinks) adds flexibility to the polish, resulting in a strong and resistant film to minimise impact on the nail. So when you'd normally bash your nails off of your keys and they'd chip, that's less likely to happen with this formula. Rejoice!
So that's all the technical stuff and while it's not as much fun as looking at all the pretty colours, I think it's useful in understanding why these are that bit more special. I really am liking the formula; I have shellac on at the moment so can't put any on my nails but I'm wearing one of them on my toes and everything from application to finish was really spot on. My only bugbear is that it didn't dry as fast as I would like but I also didn't use my Seche Vite topcoat, which normally dries a polish quicker on the nail for me than it would on it's own, so perhaps it's just that. I wanted to try these without a top coat to see how it would fare chipping wise. As I'm only two days in it's far too early to tell but I will pop back after a week with an update. The finish is perfect; rich, glossy colour with a few of them needing only one coat and to be honest, if you were in a rush, you'd probably get away with only one coat for most of them, which is impressive. I used two coats for all of the swatches below as I always do, purely out of habit!

Max Factor Gel Shine Lacquers

First up is the 1950's Red, Patent Poppy. This is a bright, orange toned, classic red to match to your lipstick as you would've done back in Marilyn's day. While the brand say that everyone should have a red like this in their collection, I prefer a slightly darker red to have as my "classic red" but that's just personal preference. If you like your red a bit brighter then you'll love this one.

Max Factor Gel Shine Lacquers

Next is 70's blues, these reference the growing punk movement of the time. Glazed Cobalt is a soft blue, a less warm shade but is a good bit darker than the pastels we've been seeing all Summer. Lacquered violet is a warm blue with a good old whack of purple in there. I love these darker shades of blue for Autumn/Winter and apparently both this and Glazed Cobalt were inspired by the looks seen on the recent 2014 catwalks.

Max Factor Gel Shine Lacquers

80's Brights are in keeping with the vibrant colours of the decade and music from the New Romantics and Boy George. I'll just interrupt myself here to say how much I love that these polishes have a proper back story. I love anything 80's anyway so these spoke to me straight away. There's three shades in this group; a super bright pink- Twinkling Pink, a muted green- Gleaming Teal and again a very bright orange in Vivid Vermillon. These are kept up to date by their high shine finish and in the case of Vivid Vermillion; although neon orange was big in the 80's, it's been toned down here with a coral undertone to make it more wearable for today. Clever. 

Max Factor Gel Shine Lacquers

My favourite of all of them however is 90's shades of Burgundy. If you think of the nineties, you'll probably think of grunge or the rise of the supermodel. Well these provide both- grunge using deep, wine hues mixed with the glamour of the high shine finish. I'm currently wearing Radiant Ruby on my toes and I plan on wearing all three of these non stop throughout A/W as they are all perfect for the colder months ahead. Radiant Ruby is my perfect red I was talking about earlier- a more sophisticated blue toned red that works really well on those of us with deathly pale skin. Sheen Merlot a rich burgundy with a shot of gold running through it and lastly, Sparkling berry is a dark raspberry red.

Each polish costs €10.39 and are available from all the usual pharmacies, Boots etc. I'd say it'd be worth waiting for a Boots 3 of 2 for these actually cause I can guarantee you that when you see them you'll want a few of them!

Are you swooning over this collection as much as I am? Which decade would you go for? (you're allowed pick more than one!)

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

Tuesday 2 September 2014

NYX | Lips!

Up until recently if someone in Ireland wanted goodies from US brand NYX, we had to send some poor unfortunate off to the states with a fine long list. Luckily, they're now stocked over on this side of the water and if you can find them (they're still not hugely accessible nationwide) then you're in for a treat. Some of their products are regularly featured on bloggers holy grail lists; the jumbo eye pencil in milk, blusher in taupe and of course any of the lip butters. Their products are cruelty free and seem really reasonably priced considering the quality. Today I have an array of lip products, including those lip butters that I've been trying out to show you so if you do come across a stand you'll know what to pick up!

NYX Lip products

First off, we have those aforementioned lip butters. I have Creme Brûlée (a nude/pale pink creme) and Maple Blondie (a peach/pink creme). These are gorgeous and I finally understand what everyone raves about.

NYX Lip butters

Super comforting on the lips but with a nice sheen; these are like a mixture between a good balm and a non-sticky gloss. Durability wise they last pretty well, I still had some left after a cup of tea and a biscuit but definitely needed a top up all the same. I love the shades that I have; both are really flattering on, they're perfect for day time or for pairing with a smokey eye and I think either of those colours would suit most skin tones. They smell amazing too- a bit like a creme brûlée actually, all sweet and caramelly. Lovely. I will definitely be getting more of these.

NYX Lip Liner

Next up is the lip pencil in Pale Pink, a classic nude/pink shade and ideal for lining the lips for plenty of lipstick shades. I think everyone should own a lip liner in a nude colour as they generally do work so well for so many looks.

NYX Lip Liner

The consistency of this one is pretty perfect; not too soft, not too hard (we're veering dangerously into goldilocks territory here), making application a doddle. I'm wearing it beneath all of the lipstick shots below; I think it adds some nice definition without competing colour-wise with any of the other lip products.

The jumbo lip pencils seem unsurprisingly to have a lot of product in them (hence the jumbo). I have Rose Brown and Pecan. Rose Brown is a confusing shade; I originally couldn't understand how it was a lip product as it's basically a metallic gold/brown- it looks like it would be perfect on the eyes but just seems like an odd lip choice. It does have quite a bang of the 90's off of it, as does Pecan, which is more of a brown/plum shade. That 90's look is very in at the moment but I'm yet to be fully convinced by it. I do like Pecan though, which is pretty well pigmented and a very wearable shade for Autumn.

NYX Jumbo Lip Pencils

Both have quite a soft consistency so feel nice on but would definitely need touch ups throughout the day- similar to a lot of the lip crayons on the market already. These are very nice indeed, just not the best shades for me but I'd be interested in checking out the rest of the jumbo lip pencils for sure.

NYX Matte Lipsticks

I have two matte lipsticks; Natural (again a good neutral pink) and Indie Flick (a super bright, almost neon coral). These both apply nicely; soft formulas that don't drag on the lips. While you can just lash Natural on and be on your way, Indie Flick takes a bit more effort to make sure you don't end up looking like a clown and eating with it is no mean feat. That said, it is a stunning colour on and is worth the extra effort I think. It does also stain like a mo' fo' so be wary of that.

NYX Matte Lipsticks

Lastly, I have one of the Lip Smacking Fun Colours in Indian Pink. This is a peach/pink with a fine sheen of gold running through it. It actually reminds me a bit of what Nars Orgasm would look like in a lipstick. This is a lovely texture and adds a nice sheen to the lips.

And now for the many swatches:

1) Lip Pencil in Pale Pink 2) Jumbo Lip in Rose Brown 3) Jumbo Lip Pencil in Pecan
4) Lip Smacking Fun Colour in Indian Pink 5) Matte Lipstick in Indie Flick 6) Matte Lipstick in Natural 7) Lip Butter in Maple Blondie 8) Lip Butter in Creme Brûlée 

Have you tried anything from NYX? What else would you recommend for a NYX newbie?!

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

Monday 1 September 2014

Nails By Rebekah

I've been following the lovely Rebekah on Instagram for the last couple of weeks and have been admiring her work; she runs her own business from home and does two week manicures and gel nails. I was delighted to take her up on her offer to try them for myself, being a lover of all things nail polish!  Here's how I got on:

I went for the two week manicure (like shellac, so it should stay chip free for up to two weeks before it grows out and needs to be removed) in very Autumnal colours; a brown/burgundy with a gold glitter accent nail and mine look great apart from a couple of very small bubbles on two of the nails (in fairness, it is part of the service that if you're not 100% satisfied you can return to have it sorted but it's not enough of a worry for me to do that, I'm only mentioning it to provide a thorough review). 
And I've already received lots of compliments, yay! I'm also slightly obsessed with that accent nail..I'm thinking a full set of the gold glitter would look amazing!

Rebekah is qualified in shellac nails and although she's also a full time student she has a certain amount of appointment slots every week; ideal for debs, weddings, nights out, holidays or just for treating yourself. I love getting shellac done when I know I have a few events coming up but I'm not a huge fan of the cost. In the past I've gone to Mink in Ballsbridge (because it's literally down the road from me) but I haven't gotten shellac done from them since last year as I'm saving and a two week mani with them will set you back around €55 with an additional €10 for removal. That's…crazy expensive.

Amazingly, Rebekah charges only €15 & €5 removal for the two week mani (using either two colours or colour and crystals), €10 & €5 removal for two week mani (using just one colour), €25 for gel nails in one colour and €30 for gel nails with colour & crystals etc. 
You can also avail of her loyalty scheme whereby the 6th appointment is free, which is pretty cool.
That right there is amazing value and if you're living in the south of Dublin and are trying to save money like me but still want to treat yourself then this is a great option!

You can check out the rest of Rebekah's work HERE on her Instagram page, or if you want to make an appointment you can email her on

Are you a fan of shellac or are you more of a change-my-nail-polish-daily sort?
To the comments!