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Thursday 27 November 2014

Blink & Wink: A Beauty Retreat In The Heart Of Dublin City

Last week I was contacted by Blink & Wink, a new beauty salon on Dawson St to pop in store to try out one of their treatments for myself. Although they offer eyebrow threading, waxing, tweezing and tinting as well as lash extensions, I opted to try a facial from their Novexpert range. 

If you saw my recent post where I was in search for a new Winter moisturiser, you'll know my skin has been dry of late and in need of a pick me up. My lovely beauty therapist Ramona talked me through the different facials they offer and explained that although there are three set options on their menu, they tailor each according to the client's skin type or needs. I really appreciated that- often times I've opted for a treatment that may not have been 100% suited to me but had to go with what was available, I prefer this bespoke approach to each treatment. It makes more sense. 

Next, Ramona assessed my skin and based on that, began my treatment; a mixture of the Repulp mask plus added Vitamin C from the Novexpert range. My eye make-up was carefully removed (impressively so actually- I'm giving Benefit's They're Real Liner another go and that is a pain to take off), cleanser was applied and massaged in. Following that, an AMAZINGLY scented exfoliator was used, which I thought was cherries-scented but is apparently raspberries. Yum. That felt gentle on my skin but was working to smooth and resurface. Once my skin was thoroughly cleansed, the repulping mask was then applied and left for a few minutes. 

The room was peaceful with a relaxing atmosphere and on a side note- Ramona has the most soothing voice ever. She should go into business making those tapes that help you get to sleep. Coming back to reality; after the mask was removed, toner, moisturiser and eye cream were applied. 

My immediate first impressions afterwards were: 
1) My skin no longer had that tight feeling it had previously. I tried squishing my forehead together to see if I could feel it but no, gone! Hurrah! 
2) My skin looked…better. Healthier, with a bit of a glow and more plumped up. I couldn't stop looking at it in the mirror when I got home, which sounds a bit egomaniacal but it was just nice to see my own face looking so well. It was a subtle difference but definitely noticeable to me. Each facial on the menu is designed to target a specific problem, rather than be purely for the sake of relaxation, as some spa treatments often are. My problem was that I needed to rehydrate my skin and that was definitely achieved, with the added bonus of leaving me relaxed and stress-free.
3) I really liked the products used. Novexpert are a French skincare brand created by a team of doctors and because of that their products are based on medical research, are suitable for sensitive skin and long term use. Their anti-ageing range is unisex and certified 100% natural in origin. And again, they smell amazing. I need to get my hands on the Vitamin C exfoliator and serum- I think they suit my skin type well.

The Cosmetics 27 range (last photo) is for more mature skin. You can also buy the Novexpert products in gift wrapped sets if you're looking for a good Christmas present for the skincare fiend in your life!

4) I thought the pricing was really very reasonable. All of their treatments (bar the eyelash extensions) are approx. 30 minutes long, the idea being that you can nip in on your lunch hour, get a quick pick-me-up and still have time for a sandwich afterwards. I LOVE that idea and if I had a job where I actually got an hour for my lunch break, I'd be all over that. Alas, I do not. That aside, the facials range from 30-45 euro, which is incredibly competitive based on similar salon prices.
5) I also loved the decor. The salon is small but compact and gives an air of luxury that is very welcoming. 

I really enjoyed my experience in Blink & Wink and I will definitely be back. I have my eye (pun intended) on the semi-permanent lash extensions as a treat in the new year and I will be needing another fab facial as well. You can check out more from Blink & Wink on their Facebook page HERE

Does the idea of a quick skincare treat appeal to you? Something to help keep your skin in tip-top shape on the run up to Christmas perhaps?

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Rita Ora For Rimmel: Pop Art Top Coat

Lookit, I've no grá for Rita Ora. For one, I couldn't name one of her songs for you (my transition into an auld one is complete with that sentence alone), the only things I know about her is that she used to go out with Calvin Harris, has an awful range of clothing with Adidas and has these Rimmel nail polishes to her name. I'm only interested in that last one. I really liked her pastel polish range that was out a while back but as I'm fearful I may be killed in an avalanche of bottles of pastel nail varnish that I already own, I left those be. This Pop Art top coat caught my eye in a Boots 3 for 2 splurge though- you can't say no to free. Plus I'm a sucker for anything related to pop art, so here we are. 

Pop Art is comprised of multicoloured circles suspended in a clear gel, for that Lichtenstein dotty effect. I like it because it looks like there's something fun but potentially complicated going on on my nails, which is great for me as I'm useless at the old nail art. It's easy to apply; you have to place the circles rather than brush them on and it dries fairly fast. I haven't tried taking it off yet although I can predict that that will be no barrel of laughs. 

I'm wearing it here over a new No7 polish (Persian Blue) that was sent to me. I've been wearing that base shade all week and am loving it, so much so that I didn't want to take it off and Pop Art was a nice solution to that- kind of like changing your entire nail look without any effort at all. Nail art for the lazy. At last! You could of course wear it over any shade, I'm looking forward to trying it over a few of the aforementioned pastels actually.

Pop Art is €5.49.
Is nail art your thing? Are you currently laughing at my inabilities or is the easier option something you'd go for too?

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Beauty Gift Ideas Christmas 2014

OK, so the market is saturated with make-up palettes, gift sets, new perfumes and various other pretty things to entice the beauty lover amongst us this Christmas. Here's my picks from what is a fairly varied selection to help with your own present shopping. The names in pink are a link to sites where they can be bought or viewed for further information. 

Nars do cheek products really well. This one contains four blushes; Miss liberty (a highlighting blush), Deep Throat, Sex Fantasy and Final Cut (both limited edition). There's also the famous Laguna Bronzer. This'll set you back about €56.

This Limited Edition palette contains rich, bronzed metallics, rose golds and deep browns in a faux-croc case that's part of the "scotch on the rocks" Christmas collection. As with the rest of that range, this is apparently inspired by the late, great Lauren Bacall and you can tell- it's seriously old school Hollywood glamour and will be perfect for the festive season. It's £58 sterling though, so you may want to save this for someone you really cherish ;)

You may well have spotted this limited edition beauty on many blogs of late and with good reason. Hourglass are a much sought-after brand and their blushers in particular are well loved. In this palette you'll find Luminous flash (champagne rose blush fused with a luminous light powder for a subtle glimmer), Incandescent Electra (cool peach blended with incandescent light powder for a radiant glow) and Mood Exposure (a soft plum with mood light powder to brighten the complexion). Again, this will set you back a pretty penny at around €70. 

Contains a dark red lipstick in Wicked and a coral cream blush in Head Over Heels (I have that one, it's lovely!). This costs £12.

The Benefits sets are gorgeous this year, as always. This one caught my eye because it's two different lip looks in the one set and is of course, super pretty to boot. There's "medium" sizes (that's 4mls btw) of Benetint and Lollitint with their matching full size balms. This is currently reduced to €26.55 from €29.50 on Debenhams online. 

Aah! These are so dinky. Three mini CT lipsticks in best selling shades; So Marilyn, Penelope Pink and Bitch Perfect. If you're that way inclined you can also hang these on your tree. Or, you know, carry them in your bag and show them off to everyone you meet...I don't know your life! This set is a reasonable €36. 

I featured this set in my Space NK Christmas post (HERE) and have to admit that I drooled a little bit when I saw it instore. The set contains 6x60ml Soufflè body Cremes in; Ambre Vanille, Almond Coconut Milk, Crème Brûlee, Fresh Fig, Crème de Pistache and Tarte au Citron. Being LM though this is pricey at around €57. Eep!

This Clarins set contains a 30ml of their fabulous Double-Serum, which I've only tried a sachet of but loved. There's also a 30ml of Gentle Refiner Exfoliating Cream and a 30ml Flash Balm (a must have). This is a great option for anyone with mature, dry or sensitive skin but I actually think this would suit a lot of skin types and would definitely be appreciated for the colder weather. You also get a wash bag. This is reduced to €53.20 on Cara Pharmacy at the minute.

I have this set and can't get over what great value it is. Inside the gift box you'll find a full size Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan, a full size Gentle Bronze and a sachet of Tough Stuff scrub. I use and love all of these wonder products and if you know someone who loves their tan, then this is a great option for them. Plus it's only €9.95! Sure you may as well get one for yourself at that price while you're at it. 

Are any of these making your own Christmas wish list?

Thursday 20 November 2014

The Christmas Tag!

Apologies to all you Grinches out there but I unashamedly love Christmas and was delighted to see Amy from Red Lips Red Hair had tagged me in her Christmas post. So, here goes!

Our Lego Christmas card from last year.

1. What is your favourite Christmas movie/s?
What isn't my favourite, more to the point- am I right?! I love them all but in particular, I always re-watch Elf (I wrote a whole blog post about how great it is HERE), It's a Wonderful Life (poor old George Bailey, always brings a tear to my eye), Home Alone, A Muppet's Christmas Carol (Tiny Tim always makes me cry too..the little crutch, the weak frog-cough. Sniff), Love Actually, Die Hard (you heard me), Planes, Trains and Automobiles, I'll give Miracle on 34th Street a watch and then there's all the classic non-festive movies that are on at that time of year anyway; Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz and endless other musicals. 


2. Do you open your presents on Christmas eve or Christmas morning?
Christmas morning. Sure Santa wouldn't have visited yet on Christmas eve. Pfft, that's just amateur hour, tag post.

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
I do! The time I woke up in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve cause I heard a noise and my granny told me it was Santa's sleigh bells on the roof. I was über excited! Midnight mass was always wonderful (even the actual mass part) and there was also the year that I asked for a Polly Pocket that was really popular and sold out everywhere- my mum and dad managed to get it but told me it was the magic of Santa and because of that I had another year believing that he existed. I still think that's really lovely. 

It could've been this one actually although I can't remember for sure. This was a princess PP. She had a castle, a throne, swans and a gazebo, a horse and carriage and amazingly, a hidden passageway (behind the suit of armour!). The pillars at the gate and the stars in the sky lit up too. Love. ( Image source.)

4. Favourite festive food
Well, everything really. Turkey and honey/clove baked ham, my mum's sage and onion stuffing (my sisters and I have been known to eat spoonfuls of it), roast potatoes, sprouts, honey roasted parsnips, trifle, mulled wine, baileys and brandy, and eh, a box of celebrations. 

5. Favourite Christmas gift
I loved my little plastic kitchen when I was small. It was called hamburger heaven and had a little oven and plastic foods. It instilled my love of fast food. Healthy. Obviously, the Polly pockets, I loved getting Lego and that doll head that you could practice hair and make up on. I think we all loved that one! These days himself always gets me lovely presents, I couldn't really pinpoint one in particular!

6.  Favourite Christmas scent?
The smell of a real tree. It's the best. I do love all of those cinnamon-y type scents as well so I usually light a few Yankee candles. I really want to try the Christmas Eve one they make but I'm not sure I can justify buying it for myself. Oh and mulled wine!

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
Mostly just wrapping presents and placing them under the tree and getting into snuggly new Christmas jammies and slippers! We don't necessarily build a gingerbread house on Christmas eve but it's become a tradition to make one every year. Here's myself and himself's first effort, back in the day, right up to last years one with my lovely sister in law:

8. What tops your tree?
A star, although growing up we had a battered looking Santa doll that sat on top, fairly crooked and always looked drunk.

9. As a kid what was the one extravagant gift you asked for but never got?
I genuinely don't remember asking for anything crazy. I'm sure I did though!

10. What's the best part about Christmas for you?
Spending time with family, going for walks in the snow, how pretty everything looks all lit up, finding the perfect gifts for people, seeing friends, decorating the tree, and really just the general atmosphere. Everything seems a bit better at Christmas, doesn't it? It does though, it's the best. 

If you'd like to do the tag too, please do! I'd love to see your answers!
I'm tagging: 
Breige from Rare Opal Blog
Cat from Big Blonde Girl  
and Yvonne from One For the Wishlist.


Wednesday 19 November 2014

Clever Solutions From Boots For Surviving The Festive Season

You know the drill, you go into Boots to pick up some lemsip and a packet of those super soft balmy tissues to soothe your poor schnoz and while there you "treat" yourself to something pretty for when you're feeling better and out on the town. Well, it seems like the peeps at Boots have caught on to that particular shopping phenomenon and sent me a little festive season survival pack. You can't actually buy all of these things together (mores the pity) but this is just a taster of what to pop in your basket next time you're in. 

Firstly, the practical. 
If you're working and socialising whilst being out and about in the cold, teetering in high heels, you'll need the following:

Re-energise dispersable vitamins (€4.99 for 20). Lash one of these into a glass of water pre a night out or the morning after (uuurgh) and replete all your missing vitamins and minerals (including B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Folic acid, Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc). This won't prevent some wagon sneezing all over you on the Luas but it will help boost your immune system and may help keep that nasty cold at bay.
Speaking of which, the Cold & Flu Defence Nasal Spray (€8.99) is a great option for those of us prone to colds and sinusitis. One spray "traps and disperses viruses...stops cold & flu taking hold". Hurrah!
If you will be doing the afore-mentioned stumbling-in-stilettos this Christmas then you'll need these comforting Blister Plasters (€5.49 for 5). Truth be told, I've never bought the Boots own brand of these particular plasters before but these are cheaper than other brands on the market and do the same job. Regular plasters do nothing for protecting your heels from the friction of wearing uncomfortable shoes all night, whereas these guys provide an actual barrier against your skin and won't peel or come loose. Little feet miracles!
Other health heroes for the festive season you can pick up alongside your toothbrush include; Boots Skin, Hair and Nails Capsules (€7.99 for 30), Boots Irritated Eye Drops (€4.52) and Boots Anti-Blister Stick (prevents blisters before they even appear, €4.99).

The lighting is a bit bright here, in reality the lipstick and the polish are a wee bit darker.

Make up wise, it's all about a bit of drama, so you'll need some glamorous eyes. 
New No7 Midnight Lash Mascara (€17.50) has an unusual shaped brush to add volume and then tapers off so that you can get all the smaller lashes as well. The formula of the mascara itself is designed to prevent clumping and provide a rich, black pigment. Also, look at that there purdy packaging. So glittery.

With that there's the Limited edition No7 Stay Perfect Shade and Define in Precious (€10.60). This is a highly pigmented cream shadow stick to provide a golden shimmer across the eyelid. Once on, this won't budge. Believe me, I've tried! If you're not a big fan of gold eyeshadow on it's own, I suggest using this as a base for brown smokey shadows, use in the corner of the eye as a highlight shade or use it as an eyeliner against a liquid black flick- it'll look dramatic and very cool.

To compliment your sparkling eyes, there's Seventeen Stay Pout Lipsticks (€5.69). I have Rule Breaker, a rich, dark berry. This is one of those perfect Winter shades and not too dissimilar to MAC Rebel, one of my all time favourite lipsticks.

Lastly, for nails there's a new shade from No7 Gel Look Nail Colour in Persian Blue. This is a beautiful cobalt- the best way to wear blue on your nails in the Winter months. There's also a limited edition in exquisite gold which looks super sparkly.

Apologies that I'm not actually wearing the polish in the picture. Sure that'd be far too organised altogether. Again, the photo is making it look paler than it is.
Cream shadow stick in Precious and Stay Put Lipstick in Rule Breaker.

Those No7 suggestions are actually really handy too for when you've got a No7 voucher to spend, so bear these in mind and there's a 3 for 2 across make up ranges in Boots at the minute!

What are your fail safe buys to get you through the colder months?

Tuesday 18 November 2014

September & October Recently Read

September was a terrible reading month. I got horribly addicted to The Good Wife (I watched the first five seasons in about two weeks. I know) and only read two books so I didn't bother doing a monthly book round up at the time and have instead added them to my non-spooky October reads! You can read my Halloween reads in a separate post HERE.

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
I listened to this on audio and so it took me ages to get through it as I bought it just before I put my back out and I primarily listen to audiobooks when I'm walking. Doh! I did try listening to it at home when I was lying down but I kept falling asleep and having horrid nightmares based on what my ears were absorbing. Yup, this one is nasty. If you read the first Cormoran Strike novel, thought it was a relatively easy going detective story with well written characters and peppered with typical J.K. Rowling wit and were then expecting the same from this then you are wrong. Very wrong. If you have read the first book then you'll know that Strike is an ex military man who lost a leg in Afghanistan and now works as a private detective. His fiancé has left him and is engaged to someone much richer and better looking than he and his office is a bit of a kip. He does have a bright and eager assistant in the form of Robyn though- a young woman who is keen to join the business and build a career for herself. With her help they solved the case of the mysterious death of a supermodel in the first book and in The Silkworm they are now tasked with finding an eccentric author who has gone missing. It takes them a long time to gather all the necessary clues and figure out what's happened but it was an interesting journey and as with the first book, I enjoyed the writing and the character development. I just struggled with some of the more gruesome descriptions; primarily of the missing authors own work, which is really not for those with a weak stomach. I consider myself pretty hardy and even I felt queasy. Bleurgh.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
I got this in a kindle sale as it was in the Booker Prize shortlist and I'd heard good things. Rosemary is our narrator. She's twenty-two and is lamenting the loss of her twin sister, Fern, when she was five years old. Fern didn't die but was sent away by their parents and Rosemary is still coming to terms with the events that led to this incident. As a child she was extremely talkative and enjoyed learning and using big words. Now she has created a cocoon of silence for herself to block out the pain and confusion that comes with the sort of loss she feels. With the arrival of her fugitive brother visiting her in college, she finally starts to learn about what her five year old self did to have such an impact on Fern's fate. During the first chapter, we're told some fairly important facts about Fern that then shape the entire storyline and really make it a completely different book than what I've described here...but if I tell you that then I'm giving the whole thing away and I can't be doing that! What I will say is that this is a strange and distinctly different novel; engaging but at times slow in pace, emotive and disturbing but with very few actual likeable characters (which I always find interesting in a book). There's been some real differences of opinion on this one so if you are going to read it, keep an open mind and don't blame me if you hate it! 

Seriously…I'm Kidding by Ellen Degeneres
I've always been a big fan of Ellen and only have to hear her voice to start laughing so naturally I bought this on Audible. At first, I was confused by what this was supposed to be; was it a memoir? A series of anecdotes? Advice for living a better life? Well it's kind of all three. She does touch on some personal subjects but overall everything is spoken about in a jokey manner so it never feels like she reveals a huge amount about herself and I would say that's the one thing that bothered me about this; I finished it not knowing a great amount more about her as a person, That said, every time I listened to it I had a smile on my face and I was sad when it ended. I found myself loudly chuckling several times and really enjoyed it overall. She approaches everything with a positive attitude and throughout the book, encourages you to live your life with a better outlook. I genuinely felt uplifted reading it and found it to be the perfect accompaniment for walks- I could still concentrate on the surrounding scenery but be pleasantly entertained at the same time. I would definitely recommend this but only on audio; I feel you'd miss out on a lot of the humour without that. 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
You know the drill by now, I'm reading the HP series for the first time this year. This is the fifth book and sees things getting much tougher for poor Harry. I actually felt really sorry for him throughout this one, he struggles with rumours flying around that he's a liar and that he made up the worrying news of the return of Voldemort. Once again, he stumbles into more life-threatening danger towards the end of the book. I cried like a baby at some parts of it and also did a "noooooo!". All very sad. Already onto number six!

The Nightingale Nurses by Donna Douglas
Same thing with this one, I'm reading this series about a group of young student nurses in 1940's Britain; how they cope with the difficulties of their harsh training, various family problems and the inevitable slide into World War 2. I started off thinking this one was more formulaic than the others but somehow it still got me and I ended up weeping away to myself (I cry a lot at books, apparently). There's a Christmas special I'm looking forward to getting stuck into soon!

Have you read and loved any of these?
What are you currently reading? 

Monday 17 November 2014

The Search For A Winter Moisturiser

If you read my recent empties post then you'll know I'm all out of both my Origins Starting Over and Ziaja SenSitive Day Cream and am in need of a newbie. At the moment I'm scraping out the end of my sample of Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Cream (HERE) during the day and as often as I can get away with it, I'm using La Roche Posay Hydraphase Intense Masque (HERE) at night time. Even with these excellent products and my Trilogy Rosehip Oil added in for good measure (HERE), my poor skin is still suffering. 
I am naturally dry of skin and all of this central heating/outdoor temperature drops sure don't help. So I popped into my local Meagher's pharmacy whilst out for a walk over the weekend and tried to narrow down which to go for (they have quite the selection of skincare- La Roche Posay, Nuxe, Vichy, Green Angel, L'ancome, Clarins etc). I'm trying to decide on one of the following four, let me know in the comments if you've tried any of them and which I should go for (although there is one that's currently in the lead).

La Roche Posay Nutritic Intense Riche
I love La Roche Posay and am already well stocked up on their skincare so I'm definitely inclined towards this one. Designed to sink in quickly and deliver intense hydration, this is fragrance-free, so it's good for sensitive skin and is thick enough to be perfect for Winter. When I tried this on the back of my hand, it seemed heavy in texture and I worried it'd be a bad option for use as a make-up base but it did seem to sink in and that particular patch on my hand was super soft for the rest of the day. It's about 20 squids, which is affordable considering I'd imagine a little goes a long way.

Vichy Aqualia Thermal 
Enriched with Hyaluronic acid and thermal water, the idea with this one is that it leaves skin hydrated for up to 48 hours, providing intense comfort and protection against daily irritants. The formula seemed a bit lighter with this, so I'm not sure if it'd be a better option for the warmer months. Having said that, this also comes in serum form so I'm tempted to get that plus one of the other moisturisers here. 

Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra Comfortable Day and Night Cream.
I've been looking at these two for a while now. I've only tried the lip balm from the Reve de Miel range and I love that so I'm really interested in trying these. The scent is incredible; I'm not even a big fan of honey but these really smell amazing. Like everything from Nuxe (I've previously used one of their moisturisers from a different range), these are rich in texture but seem to sink in quickly leaving skin soft and relieved (based on my swatching only!). Containing acacia honey, sunflower and argan oils, shea butter and barley extract these are designed to soothe dry and sensitive skin like mine. The only thing turning me off these is the need to buy two pots rather than one.

Any thoughts on this lot? Enable me!

Friday 14 November 2014

A Blogger Recommends- A Cherry Sue Tag Post!

I love a good blog tag, it gives you the opportunity to see what a variety of bloggers think about a specific topic. The lovely Sue over at Cherry Sue Doin' The Do created the A Blogger Recommends tag where you share your ultimate favourite products. You know, those ones you always repurchase, you make sure you've got a back up of and are perennially close to hand. I've narrowed mine down to six although if I'm honest, since I made the little collage below I've thought of a couple more. Doh! 

Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow Palette
I became a contouring queen this year and although there's plenty of excellent alternatives on the market, for me, this is my number one. The bronze has no red tones so is perfect for my paler skin and provides a subtle yet obvious cheekbone effect, where none existed previously (god bless you CT!). Equally, the highlighter provides a warm glow with a softening effect- no glitter here, that's for sure! You can read a full review HERE.

Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm
If anyone ever asks me what to do for chapped lips, I recommend this fella. Costing around €12 per little glass pot, I've heard several people exclaim that it's rather pricey for a lip balm. However, this will last you an entire year, only a small amount is needed to leave your lips soft, smooth and in tip top condition. I use mine every night as a treatment and then during the day if needed (although that night time application will actually last over an 8 hour period so I generally find I don't need to use it throughout the day). Full review HERE.

YSL Shocking Mascara
My all time favourite mascara, which is saying something as I've tried many at this stage. This gives the illusion of false lashes without any of the hassle or added, well fakeness and doesn't leave behind clumps or flakes. Again this is pricey but I find that it just works for me and changes my entire look. Love it!

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth cleanser
It doesn't matter how many cleansers I try out, I always come back to the is one. I've used LE for years now and my skin still loves this. It's unbelievably comforting after a long day to take off your make up and soothe your skin with this beauty- the scent is delicious, my skin feels super soft after use and squeaky clean too. Perfect for dry/dehydrated/sensitive/older skin types. Full review HERE.

Nars Radiant creamy Concealer
I searched for years for the perfect concealer, one which would take care of both under eye bags and blemishes and I finally found it with this one, from Nars last year. I've been through several tubes at this stage and my love for it has yet to wane. Full review HERE.

Cocoa Brown One Hour Tan
And for that matter, Cocoa brown Gradual Bronze. I've been using this now for about two years and although I was previously not a big fan of self tans, I have been converted by this. I couldn't in all honestly recommend a tan unless I myself found it easy to use and that really is the case here. No streaks, no dodgy patches, no horrendously awful smell (it does have a scent as it develops but it's not a traditional "soggy biscuit" aroma) and most importantly; no orange after-effects. I've recently graduated to the darker version for events or nights out and really love that too. For a lighter glow I use Gradual bronze at nights, applying just like a daily moisturiser. For me, I feel more confident when I'm a bit less blindingly white and I always get told I'm looking great when I'm wearing tan. When I'm au natural people often tell me I look tired..funny that! I've gone through cans of Cocoa Brown and will always be well stocked!

What are your ultimate beauty buys? Would any of these make your list? Let me know in the comments! Also, fellow bloggers- please do your own post on this too if you'd like! There's too many of you whose blogs I love reading for me to tag!

Thursday 13 November 2014

Space.NK. Christmas- ALL The Pretty Things!

Last night I attended an event in Space.NK. Dublin, showcasing their Christmas gifts for 2014. Beauty lovers consider it their mecca and it's easy to see why; ceiling to floor shelves packed with some of the more higher end cosmetic delights and at this time of year in particular it's just that little bit more special. I could easily not bother writing any wish list ever again and instead just write blog post after blog post with only the shops address and that would be more than enough because you see, I pretty much want everything they sell. If you're looking for a gift for a loved one or indeed for yourself (I think I'll be buying myself a "well done for surviving the year, ya big trooper!" present) then this is where you need to be going. I've only a limited selection of what you'll find in store here as I was rushing on my way somewhere but I did spot plenty of make-up palettes, nail polish sets, gloriously scented candles and super comforting body lotions. Just to point out that I didn't get all of the prices so these are mostly in sterling (but to be honest the Space.NK. conversion seems to be spot on from what I've checked) and there's a few in euro too. Peruse the photos below and let me know in the comments what you'd ask Santy for!

Stocking fillers/Tree Decorations:

Eve Lom Kiss Mix Lip Balm
Eve Lom Kiss Mix Lip Balm (love this stuff!), £16.

Aromatherapy Associates London
Aromatherapy Associates London "The Star", mini bath oil, £10.

This Works
This Works 2 mini sleep aids. £10.

Laura Mercier eye transformer trio (£25), Lipstick Queen "Chinatown" set of three lip crayons (can't find a price for this one, apologies).

Nails & Hand Care

Ciate Christmas
The cutest gingerbread house ever! Four sparkly Christmas polishes from Ciaté, £25.

Caudalie set of three hand creams (in the background), £12, Laura Mercier set of four hand creams (at the front), £25.

Spellbound nail polish
A Spellbound book of three stunning nail shades, that middle sparkly blue is just gorgeous. €28 (a single bottle is €15, so big saving there!).

Body Lotions/Skin Care

Eve Lom
Oh Eve Lom, you beauty. I love her cleanser!! This would be a gorgeous gift and cheaper than buying these individually. £65.

ren  Rose Otto
Great sets from Ren, including their best seller Rose Otto on the left (£34) and an exclusive Rose Otto set on the right (£49), containing award winning products.

Laura Mercier set of 6 Patisserie Souffle Body Creme collection
SWOON. Laura Mercier set of 6 Patisserie Souffle Body Creme collection. WANT. £45.

Life Jump Start Zest For Life
Life Jump Start Zest For Life- body wash, sugar scrub, candle and body lotion. This will be a much appreciated addition to anyones shower come January! £28.

This Works- Perchance To Dream
This Works- Perchance To Dream, set of 4 full size products to aid sleep- candle, bath soak, dream cream and pillow spray (I have both the candle and pillow spray and if you know someone suffering from Insomnia I think this would be a really thoughtful gift). £65.


Stunning candles that all smell amazing (I can vouch for that, I gave them all a good sniff!). The Diptyque set of three (£78) are great for Winter but not overpowering in a cinnamon/sugar/pine tree kinda way.

Make Up Palettes & Sets

Laura Mercier Artist's Eye and Cheek Palette
Laura Mercier Artist's Eye and Cheek Palette, £45.

By Terry; Give Me 5 Smoky Eyes kit.
By Terry; Give Me 5 Smoky Eyes kit. 5 full sized eye products with gift bag, £96.

Kevin Aucoin The Look Book Eye, Cheek & Lip palette.
Kevin Aucoin The Look Book Eye, Cheek & Lip palette. Love that packaging and the two eyeshadows on the right..gorgeous! £38.

Laura Mercier Caviar sticks eye collection
Set of 6 Laura Mercier Caviar sticks eye collection, €55. These guys are raved about by bloggers!

Hourglass Ambient blush palette
And the much lusted after Hourglass Ambient blush palette. So purdy but pricey at £56. (it is back in stock though in case you were thinking of getting it!)

And that's your lot. Apologies that I didn't get all the prices but you can check out the Space.NK. website HERE for more details, or pop along to Grafton St- just prepare to do some drooling!

Monday 10 November 2014

Love/Hate And The Response to *That* Rape Scene.

*Trigger warning; discusses sexual assault*

I can't believe that I'm writing this in this day and age but here we are. This is going to be short because I think the point is actually pretty obvious so no need to labour over it. 

Last night saw the series finale of popular Irish drama Love/Hate and undoubtedly, most of the country were tuned in. As usual, it was an hour long blast of violence with characters tortured and murdered and included a disturbing rape scene involving Fran, a prisoner in Mountjoy jail. 
We're shown his initial attack and his broken body afterwards, as he lies in a pool of his own blood, clearly in agony. 
Instantly, memes and jokes about these scenes sprang up across social media. I unfollowed those on Twitter who felt the need to share these comments but this morning I noticed my Facebook and Instagram feeds were also filling up with crass "jokes" too and as these were also people I'm friends with, I thought it would be better to just address it here rather than go through each individual and repeat myself several times. 
So for those of you who find it hilarious that a human being (fictional or not) was violently sexually assaulted with a piece of splintered wood, let me just point out this glaringly obvious fact; rape is not funny. It never has been and never will be. To laugh at suffering of that level instantly makes you less human. If you can watch something like that and not feel physically ill, fair enough. Good for you and your steely constitution. lf however you can watch that and then go on to make incredibly crude jokes, memes or comments about it then you're not only lacking a sense of humour but also any slight vestige of empathy or decency. 

Just in case you're also confused; rape involving a male victim or the use of an object is still rape. Would you laugh at a female rape victim? Did you also laugh at the rape of Siobhan last series? Maybe you did, maybe that's your thing. I don't know your (messed up) life. I do know however that people's justification for this on twitter have been nothing short of an epic grasping at straws; "it's only a tv show", "the rapist isn't gay so it can't be rape", "there was no sexual attraction so it wasn't rape", "sure he's a criminal himself anyway", "because it was an object people weren't aware of what was happening" etc. 
Seriously, just stop.

Yes, this was a work of fiction but one that was designed to show the degradation and humiliation of this character, something I think the actor and makers of the program captured perfectly. And really, it doesn't matter that this is a fictional character, things like this happen to real people in real life. Mocking and trivialising it when it happens on a television show (especially one with as great a cultural impact as Love/Hate) makes it harder for real life victims to speak up. Even setting that aside, if after seeing something that harrowing, your first instinct is to laugh about it, then you really need to reevaluate why you find something like that funny in the first place. 

That's just my two cents on the matter, if you have anything to add, please pop it down in the comments below. Sincere apologies if this was upsetting for any of you, if you need to talk to someone about your own experiences, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre provide a great service; (01) 661 4911.