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Monday 27 July 2015

When In Rome Day 3!

Day 3 and sadly, the last day of our Italian adventure. Fear not though as we're currently planning a very exciting trip to the States in September. Stay tuned!

Lastly then is the Vatican and St Peter's Basilica, home to some beautiful art work and much queuing/walking/standing. A recommendation- wear respectful clothing as they will stop you if you're wearing shorts or a short skirt plus you need to have your shoulders covered. I saw several women who had been caught out at the security check and had to wear long scarves tied around their waists and shoulders. Be prepared!

Himself is the master of planning and so had booked our tickets into the Vatican Museum (including the Sistine Chapel) where we visited first. This was possibly the best decision we made on this trip (being very generous to myself with that "we") because the queue to get in stretched right around the block in 30 something degree heat. That whole area is also covered in people trying to sell you their own tours etc. which aside from being a bit dodgy was also rather annoying. It was nice to be able to sail right past them. 

Panoramic view of St Peter's, surrounded by columns, statues and St Peter's Square to the front. 

Inside, the sheer size will astound you. It's classically grandiose as only the Catholic Church knows how to do- lots of gilding, lots of statues, much luxury. It's what Jesus would have wanted. 

All jokes aside though, it is very beautiful.

It was great to see the Pieta in real life too.

And lots of beautiful floors. 

The Vatican Museum is another immense building, crammed with art works of varying styles that have been collected by different popes throughout the centuries. It houses one of the largest collections of Renaissance art but also some Salvador Dali, Picasso, Francis Bacon, Van Gogh, Rodin, Kandinsky, Chagall and an impressive range of Egyptian art

Casual bit of violence there, himself impersonating this sculpture of a dog (I love this photo for some reason) and a small glimpse of the Egyptian art on display.

Rodin sculpture, Evil Santa hitching a lift off some fella in the nip in a Renaissance painting, random beautiful bust.

More beautiful floors.

And ceilings for that matter (although obviously their most famous ceiling is in the Sistine chapel but there's no photos allowed there!)

Lots of walls that look like this..

..and tapestries that look like this. G'wan missus, poke his eye out!

Even the stairs are a work of art!

I could easily keep showing you photos, because there are many but I'll leave it at that before you get Rome fatigue. To end our last day we went for dinner that night and then got gelato and sat at the fountains in the Piazza Navona, which was rather lovely. 

I would 100% recommend you book a trip to Italy's capital for yourself, we had a truly wonderful Vacanze Romane!

Saturday 25 July 2015

Recently Read: May & June.

The last couple of months have been pretty poor for me reading wise, considering I've only managed six books throughout May and June but in my defence some of these were lengthy, arduous reads. Bet that really makes you want to read on, eh?!

The Secret Place by Tana French
Sure look, I've gone on at length about Tana French by now but just in case you're new here, she's an Irish crime/thriller author with five books now published about the fictional Dublin murder squad. I loved her four previous novels to varying degrees and so was really looking forward to The Secret Place. You don't need to have read the other books as they aren't technically a series but each book focuses on a detective that featured in the background of one of the others. This time then we have Detective Stephen Moran who works in Cold Cases but really wants a break into Murder. He gets a visit from schoolgirl Holly (who is the daughter of Detective Mackey from The Faithful Place), who brings him a photograph of a teenage boy who died a year prior with the words "I know who killed him", written across it. His body was found on the grounds of a prestigious boarding school where Holly attends and no one was ever caught for his murder. Stephen sees this as his chance and teams up with Detective Antoinette Conway, who originally worked the case. The time span of the book is a day that they spend in the boarding school interviewing the likely suspects (all of whom are teenage girls), until they finally figure it out. 
So, a few things here. Firstly, Tana French writes beautifully. In fact her prose often reads as poetry which doesn't seem to work as well here as it has done before. She has captured the tone of teenage girls very well though and has rightfully been complimented on how accurately she has accessed modern day teen slang and phrases but that aside she has also managed to grasp that feeling of youth; of being in love for the first time, the confidence that comes with being aware of your own coming of age and realising that everything is changing. That's a universal sensation, non-reliant on a specific time or generation- we've all been through that and I thought she portrayed that quite successfully. I have to say though that this book felt longer than all her others (it's roughly the same length though) and I almost had to drag myself back to it, which hasn't happened to me with her work before. It's a good mystery and there's enough potential outcomes that you will be guessing the whole way through but I felt the pace was just too slow and overall I found his book somewhat lacking, I am sad to say. 

Disclaimer by Renee Knight
Hailed as the big thriller of the Summer, Disclaimer has an interesting and original premise. Catherine is a happily married, middle aged documentary film maker. She picks up a book she finds in her house and starts reading it, horrified to discover that it depicts a dark, grim secret from her own life from years before when her son was a child. Its author is at first unknown but as the book progresses, we hear from him too- a seemingly deranged retired teacher who is out to destroy her. But how does he know her secret? What is their connection and can she stop him before he reveals the truth to those she loves? 
Being honest, I didn't love this one. Reading about the calculated and frankly unwarranted destruction of a woman's life for a perceived wrongdoing over the course of an entire book was tiring and unpleasant. Her supposed crime turned out to be far less exciting than you were led to believe and when there is a twist that her misdeed was in fact not what it seems either, I practically threw the book out the window (except that it was on audio so that would have involved smashing my phone). *SPOILER ALERT* but there is a rape scene in this book and similar to Apple Tree Yard (review HERE), this was a scene that was unexpected and to be honest, rather gratuitous. For once, I'd like to read a thriller where the female character's sexual assault isn't a shady plot device. I didn't think it was necessary here and although the author very much made a point about how women are judged by society for having sex compared to when they are a victim of sexual assault, I felt it was ham-fisted and again, not necessary. 
Ugh, I'm actually annoyed I read this one. 

No Safe House by Linwood Barclay
I forgot to bring a book in my case on holidays recently and got to the airport book shop with not long to spare before boarding. This was on offer so I picked it up along with the latest Nick Hornby. I knew I hadn't read it but there was something familiar about it and it wasn't til I was about two chapters through and drinking my Ryanair tea that I realised I had read the prequel No Time For Goodbye, which was released some 8 years ago. That had been a really big seller at the time and was about a teenage girl who wakes up one day to find her whole family have disappeared in seemingly mysterious circumstances. Anyway, that's all I remembered of that but in this book that girl is now grown up with a teenage daughter of her own who breaks into a house at night with her ruffian boyfriend to take a car for a joyride. Unbeknownst to them, there's someone else in the house with them and it's not the owners. Shots are fired and from then it's mostly pure confusion and a vague reintroduction of characters from the previous book that no one remembers. Overall it's a fairly benign crime thriller. I wouldn't be surprised to see this pop up as the storyline on the new (awful) Hawaii 5-0 or one of the many CSI's etc. 

The Color Purple by Alice Walker
I've wanted to read the Color Purple (kills me to leave out that u) for a while now and have avoided seeing the film version until I had finally picked up the book! This is the story of Celie, a young poor African-American girl living in Georgia in the 1930's. We learn early on how horrendous Celie's life is- her father rapes and beats her and her mother is dying. She has two children as the result of that abuse that are taken from her and adopted. She does have her sister Nettie though and they love and support each other. Celie is later sold off into marriage to a much older man (Mister) who needs someone to look after his unruly kids and his house and the poor treatment of Celie continues apace there. While it all seems very bleak, we're introduced to different female characters that all have a huge impact on Celie's life- how she sees herself and how she allows others to treat her. Sofia is strong willed and assertive and refuses to allow Harpo (one of Mister's grown up sons) to treat her badly. Shug Avery is a lounge singer and Mister's 'other woman' and soon becomes close friends with Celie, teaching her about her own sexuality and her worth as a woman. All throughout the book we read Nettie's letters to Celie- Nettie is now working as a missionary in Africa with a couple and their adopted children and through that we're treated to a whole other storyline. Although we can read these letters, Celie cannot because Mister has hidden them from her and so one of the big questions of the book is if Celie and Nettie will ever be reunited and can Celie find the happiness she so truly deserves? I won't give anything away but I did cry rather a lot, several times during this novel. It is wonderfully written- dark but humorous, upsetting but sensitively written with larger than life characters you'll be rooting for the whole way throughout. I also loved the meaning behind the significance of "the colour purple". Its description is rather lovely. In case that isn't enough to tempt you, it won the Pulitzer Prize back in 1983 and has been censored by several countries for it's depiction of African-American women's treatment by American society in the 1930's and for it's use of violence. I'm of the firm opinion that all banned/censored books need to be read and read by many! Go get it!

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
You might know Aziz Ansari from such television shows as Parks and Rec and eh, his stand up routines that are on Netflix. You might have expected then that a book penned by such an individual would be a comedic memoir, in the style of Tina Fey, Mindy Kahling or Amy Poehler but you would be wrong. Modern Romance is a humorous look at dating in today's technology obsessed world with extensive research, data, polled audiences, focus groups, actual text conversations and input from leading experts (the book is co-written with a University based social scientist) to explore how people meet each other and fall in love in this modern era. I really enjoyed this book and although there was nothing overly shocking or ground-breaking in it, it felt fresh because of Ansari's comedic approach.  I bought this on Audible because it's read by the man himself, which was a nice touch and great for listening to on walks but I felt I missed out by not getting the hard copy which featured lots of graphs and cool charts that helped explain some of the data discussed in the book. Regardless, I thought this was an interesting and entertaining read. 

The Last Letter From Your Lover by JoJo Moyes.
I've read a few books by JoJo now and have had varying degrees of success with them but I said I'd give this a go as the premise sounded interesting and it was buy one get one free on Audible that month. Ahem. Anyways, The Last Letter From Your Lover is a love story spanning forty years- starting in 1960 where Jennifer Sterling awakes in hospital with amnesia following a car accident. She's married and so is very confused when she discovers a love letter from an unknown author asking her to leave her husband. Fast forward to 2003 where a journalist, Ellie finds the same letter in the newspaper archives where she works and begins her detective work to discover if the letters lovers had a happy ending- something she is very keen to find for herself too. I did like this book while I was reading it but I don't think I was ever fully invested in it. Even now when I went to write this I found myself struggling to remember the storyline. It's grand like but not the best book I've read this year by any means.

What are you reading at the minute? Anything good?

Friday 17 July 2015

A Look At Fabulous Flormar!

Greetings! If you follow me on any social media platform you'll have spotted I attended the recent Flormar Ireland launch!

We've been really lucky in Ireland over the last couple of years for getting access to pretty cool international cosmetics brands. Added to the list of Wet n' Wild, Physicians Formula and Bioderma, we now have Flormar; an affordable, fun brand packed with colour and lots of choice (seriously, the nail polishes comes in 1,000 shades!!)

The price range is €2.95 to €12.95. I KNOW, right?!

I have renowned make-up artist Leonard Daly's top picks from the brand to show you:

Flormar Ireland
Flormar Ireland

Illuminating Primer
Primers are the brand's hero products and I was particularly delighted to see the word 'illuminating' on there as I tend to gravitate towards a dewier look. This is designed to 'smooth out fine lines and create a mattifying canvas to ensure make up stays put for hours'. There's also green tea and acacia in there to soothe and nourish the skin, so no fear of it drying out on you. This is €9.95.

Flormar Illuminating primer

Bronzing Powder
Would you look at the size of that compact?! Good lord. This is a soft, highly pigmented, ultra-sheer bronzer, making it buildable and flattering for Summer skin and will work well on the very pale amongst us. This is the shade Gorgeous Bronze and it's €9.95.

Flormar bronzing powder

Colour Palette Eye Shadow
I have this in 07, which is called Nude Dude. It contains five matte nude shades ranging from a cream base shade to brown for the crease. Lookit, I don't want to be a typical blogger and say these are "buttery soft", but…these are buttery soft (you can slap me the next time you see me) and although there is a little bit of fallout, they are overall lovely to use. It does come with one of those awful 80's double ended sponge applicators but sure that's off to the city tip so no worries there. I will say that for me, this is missing a darker shade to add stronger definition but as it is it works very well for a daytime look and at €9.95, you can't go too far wrong.

Flormar eyeshadow palette

Wearing the illuminating primer (underneath foundation), Bronzing Powder, Colour Palette Eye Shadow and the Revolution lipstick. I wanted to show you this look with glasses because I think a bold lip and slightly smoky eye work really well for glasses wearers!

Revolution Lipstick
These are a "new generation of lip loving formulations and colours..that deliver softly textured colour that glides seamlessly on the lips to create mega impact and shine". I have this in the shade Provocative Orange, and it certainly is that. You might need to be brave for this one but there's no better time- orange lips are really in at the minute with everything from lip stains, gel glosses and full on mattes available in summery tangerine shades. A word of warning- make sure your lips are in good condition cause this lipstick will show up every crack and dry spot!
The good news is you won't feel too anxious about spending money on a trend product like this as they are only €6.95. There are other shades too by the way…you don't have to get orange. You should though.

Flormar revolution lipstick

Long Wearing Lip Gloss
This is a new gel technology, packed with vitamins C and E to protect and moisturise your lips while still providing a sheer shot of glossy colour. I have the shade Backstage, which is a stunning fuchsia gel with flecks of glitter. I can't get over this colour- it's not what I'd normally go for but I love it! What a fab shade! These are €5.95.

Flormar long lasting gloss
Wearing the illuminating primer (underneath foundation), Bronzing Powder, Colour Palette Eye Shadow and the Long Lasting Gloss. 

Jelly Look Nail Enamel
Like I mentioned earlier, there are actually 1,000 shades in the range with various different formulas including matte, quick dry, neon and of course, jelly
I have the shade turquoise green which is the perfect Summer colour. These are only €4.50 each. I haven't had a chance to use this yet but I'll get back to you!

Are you looking forward to picking up some Flormar for yourself? Good news- it'll be in pharmacies nationwide very soon (and at some stage a stand alone store)!! 
Anything here catching your eye?

*This post contains press samples and as aways, my own opinions!

Wednesday 15 July 2015

No7 Early Defence Skincare Range

I've had the new No 7 Early Defence range since the launch a couple of months ago but couldn't use them straight away as I was trialling something else at the time so for the last month now I've been using the Day Cream, Night Cream and Eye Cream and I can officially say that I am loving them. 
I will admit, I wasn't expecting much for the very fact that this is aimed at younger women- I am 31 years old and was fearful I was on the wrong side of 30 for these to work. I copped myself on though and realised that I actually have very good skin- I don't smoke and I've always looked after it well with a good skincare routine so I said I may as well give it a go. 
That plus on further inspection of the press release did I realise that it's aimed at 20-35 year olds! I can still tick that box! Hurrah!

Early Defence was developed with younger women in mind
No 7 did their research and found that these women (including me, yay!) put their health and wellbeing at the forefront of their beauty agendas- in other words, we're concerned about our physical and mental wellbeing and so spend more time on fitness, eating well, getting more sleep and focusing on relaxing our minds with yoga, knitting and mindfulness. What this age group aren't overly concerned with is ageing, so the scientist types at No 7 have come up with a stepping stone to transition from your everyday skincare to proactively delaying the signs of ageing. 

To do this they're using something called 'double defence technology'. This is basically a combination of prevention of sun/environmental damage and an antioxidant that keeps your skin looking younger for longer. 

To break that down a bit further, you've got:
Ginseng and Mulberry- rich in polyphenols which are effective against superoxides produced in skin when exposed to sunlight or pollution.
Vitamin C- effective against ultraviolet light and atmospheric electrical discharges.
Lipochroman and Vitamin E- effective against singlet oxygen, an incredibly damaging free radical produced by UVA exposure.
Rice peptides & Alfalfa- enzyme inhibitors of age accelerating enzymes in the skin. These enzymes become hyperactive as you age and break down healthy skin components, like collagen. Hence why you need something to inhibit those dudes!

OK, that was a lot of science talk and for sure, you probably skipped most of that or did a bit of eye glazing- I understand. All you really need to know is this stuff has other stuff in it to help prevent the damage that is unfortunately associated with ageing. 

The Early Defence Day Cream is a super light moisturiser with 5* UVA protection and an SPF 15. Because the formula is so light you don't need a whole lot of down time before putting this on and applying your foundation and because it's not greasy, it means it's a great base for your make up. I understood from the launch of this product that they're trying to make skincare more convenient for busy women and I think they've most definitely achieved that here. This is €24.95.

The Early Defence Night Cream is more hydrating as it's a night cream but somehow is still a very light formula and doesn't take that long to absorb. Designed to give your skin a boost and help recover while you sleep, it's a rather lovely moisturiser that smells pleasantly floral. This is also €24.95

Lastly is the Early Defence Eye Cream. This again is very light. Possibly the lightest eye cream I've ever used and what I really love about it is the complete lack of stickiness. You know what I'm talking about; way too many eye creams/gels leave an unpleasant sticky residue that seems to take forever to sink in. Not with this- similar to the day cream, it's a great base and is ready for make up straight away. This is enriched with Vitamin C to help puffiness and dark circles and is priced at €17.50

All three are currently available in Boots stores nationwide and online
If you're wondering whether or not you should be starting to use anti-ageing skincare then I can definitely recommend this range- it's  not as full on as a lot of similar products on the market which makes it better suited for younger women and it still does all the things you expect from a moisturiser- provide sun protection, keep your skin soft and hydrated and compliment your foundation. Definitely worth using your No 7 vouchers on, eh?!

Do you use anti-ageing skincare? What do you think of Early Defence? 

Thursday 9 July 2015

Kindle Summer Book Sale 2015!

Just a quick post today to let you know that the Kindle Summer book sale is now on. I love when they have a sale and even though I have far too many unread books as it is, at these prices there's really no harm in getting a few more..right?!

Here's my suggestions (I'm not giving descriptions cause there's too many but click on the book titles for links to the site):

The Shock of the Fall. I haven't read this but all the reviews have been wonderful. It focuses on one man's mental health issues, so probably not the happiest of reads but it's certainly had a lot of praise.

Eleanor and Park. I have read this one and loved it. It's a YA love story but is very accessible for adult-adults too.  

Love, Nina: Dispatches From Family Life. I've also read this one and although not a lot happens (it's a nannies letters to her sister during the 80's in London), it's a very comforting book and a pleasant read. 

Delerium. This is the first of a YA trilogy and has been described as a "dystopian Romeo and Juliet". SOLD. 

Memoirs of a Geisha. Possibly most people have read this by now, but if not, you should! Plus it's only £1.89!!

In the Woods. Lookit, I'm always banging on about Tana French. This is her first novel and well worth a read. 

The Virgin Suicides. This one divides opinion but I've always loved it. 

Cider With Rosie. I haven't read this since I was a lot younger but I remember it being wonderful. 

Look Behind You. I haven't read this at all but I just bought it because it's got good reviews and looks like a decent thriller with an interesting premise. 

I also just bought Z: A Novel Of Zelda Fitzgerald. I've wanted this one for a while!

In case none of those take your fancy, I've also spotted this lot:
The five people you meet in heaven, The Maze Runner, Into The darkest Corner, Half of a Yellow Sun, American Wife, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Fight club and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Happy shopping!

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Bourjois Sweet Kiss Gloss

I've three lip glosses for you today from the Bourjois Summer collection. These are the Sweet Kiss glosses, which promise 10 hours of hydration and a shiny finish with the feeling of bare lips. In order to achieve a bold claim like 10 hours of hydration, they've included a thin oil-enriched serum that nourishes and adds shine without any excess like you can get from other gloopier glosses. 
The end result is that you have a lightweight gloss- so many brands are using this sort of technique at the moment and I have to say this does feel similar on the lips to the YSL lip oil, except this is definitely glossier and lasts longer, in my opinion. It's both comfortable and comforting on- almost like a balm. 
They're all mildly fragranced with something vaguely fruity- it's completely inoffensive and they have a delightful creamy, milky finish. 
Hurray for shimmer free gloss! A milky gloss is where it's at as far as I'm concerned and these are pure translucent colours with no shimmer flakes or mother of pearl added. Glory be. 

As de Pink, 01, Sand-Sation, 03 and Orange Presée, 05. 

I'm not a huge fan of nude lips so I was pleasantly surprised by Sand-Sation. Described as a "sandy blond enhanced with a touch of pink for immediate radiance", it actually grew on me the more I wore it. I still think it's too pale for my skin tone ordinarily but with tan it works well. 

I wear a lot of pinks so was immediately drawn to As De Pink (I don't know either). This is a grenadine pink that adds a nice healthy appearance and works well with a smoky eye or just worn with bronzer and a flick of eyeliner. I wore this to death in Rome and loved how handy it was to keep in my bag and top up as needed. Because the glosses are almost balmy, you get the best of both worlds- you're looking after your lips but with that lovely colour and shine added in.

Lastly and actually my favourite, is Orange Presée. I've been majorly into orange on lips for the past few months. It all started with a purchase of MAC's Sea Sheer and since then I've been fully converted. I didn't think I had the sort of skin tone that could pull off tangerine but it turns out I was very wrong. Orange Presée is surprisingly pigmented for a gloss and adds a bold swipe of colour but because it's a gloss, it still looks pretty and casual; perfect for daytime for those who ordinarily love a strong lip. This is a mini statement if you will- no fuss, no muss. I find it lifts my complexion and is well suited to this time of year. If I'm heading to an event or on a night out then I pair it with Indie Flick from NYX

These are €11.99 each and come in six different shades. I already have my eye on a couple of others in the range but without a doubt I''ll be repurchasing Orange Presée when it's finished. Have you tried the Bourjois Sweet Kiss glosses?
You can read more about the Bourjois Summer range with their Parisian Summer bronzers, HERE.

*This post includes press samples, gratefully received. All opinions my own, as always.

Tuesday 7 July 2015

KIKO Haul!

You might have spotted in the first of my Rome blog posts that I picked up a few bits in KIKO while we were over there. I'm new to KIKO so I wasn't really sure what to go for. Himself got me a basket and said to work away and get whatever I wanted (it was my birthday). Being truthful, there was probably plenty of things I could have picked up but I was uncharacteristically restrained and sensible so I just went for the following:

KIKO make up

I had been really limited by my carry-on luggage so I only had two lip products with me and practically as soon as we arrived I wished I had red lipstick. That was actually the initial reason for going into KIKO.

KIKO make up

 I scanned various shades and finishes and ended up with this Luscious Cream Lipstick in 510; a classic blue toned red. Amazingly, it was actually himself that picked this shade out, because he's got a weirdly good eye like that. I love everything about this- it's a beautiful, flattering shade that looks good on me with or without tan and will be perfect all year round. As an aside, the packaging is some crazy cool space age shizz.

KIKO make up

I recently finished my Nuxe Reve de Miel so I was drawn to this little pot of Night Balm, to nourish your lips at, er, night. I only really use the Reve de Miel before I go to sleep anyway so this little fella is gonna live on my bedside table. It's very moisturising on the lips and seems to last well plus it smells delightful!

KIKO make up

Next up is a Velvet Touch Creamy Stick Blush in 02. This instantly reminded me of The Multiple from Nars, particularly this shade, which I think is a good match for Orgasm in that both are that peachy/pink with a shimmer throughout. Orgasm always looked well on me (that's what she said) but I haven't worn it in a long time and I'm big into cream/liquid blush at the minute so this seemed like a no brainer. 

KIKO make up
KIKO make up

Lastly, I have Double Deco Blush in Coral Gables. I'll be honest, this was too beautiful to leave behind. The outer packaging has a 70's disco kinda vibe and the powder itself is a delightful mix of a warm pink with gold shimmer and a matte peach. Love this.

As you've probbaly noticed, all I bought were lip and cheek products because yes, those are my own personal make-up predilections. I was tempted by an amazing looking bronzer but I've actually got too many bronzers to use and not enough faces, hence, sensible! 

Have you used KIKO before? 

Friday 3 July 2015

Come, Look at My Trash! #4

Yes, it's that time again. The time for me to photograph my beauty trash, put it on t'internet and discuss its merits for all to see. I've been building this lot up for a while so there's a bit of a mix of skincare and beauty.

I'm starting with the top left hand corner and the L'oreal Professional VoluMetry conditioner. I picked this up last Christmas along with the accompanying shampoo from Preen Hair & Beauty, where I regularly get my hair done. This range was recommended because my hair is quite thin and needs a helping hand with volume but without weighing down my fine strands. I found this conditioner did everything it said on the tin. I also love the shampoo (I haven't finished that yet) and I will definitely repurchase both. I tried using a cheaper range in the middle of trying these out but had to go back to these as my hair was virtually like straw without them.

I used Rimmel Instant Tan throughout my late teens/early twenties as it was perfect for lashing on last minute before a night out. Even now the smell of this brings me right back to that age! Funny how scent can do that to you. Anyway, Rimmel brought out a waterproof version a couple of years ago and so I have dutifully been using it up since. I'm quite sad to see this go as it's apparently been discontinued and it's one of the handiest products I own. I don't always have time for an overnight tan and this just solves that problem so well. Boo.

The Body Shop Argan Oil Body Scrub was sent to me for review last year (read about that HERE) and it's one of my favourite versions of their body scrubs that I've tried so far. It smells amazing and has the perfect ratio of gel to little scrubby bits so it removed old tan so efficiently! I especially like to use this on dry skin first to do all the hard work and then hop in the shower and add water to finish off the job. I would definitely repurchase except that I have three other full exfoliators ready to go!

African Paradise is a Body Conditioner from Lush. you apply this in the shower to wet, clean skin, leave briefly before washing off and it leaves you with soft, moisturised skin without having to add another skincare step to your routine. I liked this. It smells great and both helped out my dry skin and my time keeping skills. However, I didn't love the somewhat greasy residue it left on my skin in the shower- once I was dry that disappeared but it felt unpleasant while it lasted. I thought I could get over that but it turns out, I can't. Added to that that, this is expensive at €24.95 and so I don't think I'd repurchase it. It did last me a whole year though, so that is a huge plus. I reviewed this in full HERE.

I've spoken at length about the Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanse & Polish so I won't bore you to death again but this is one of my all time favourite skincare products. It smells and feels amazing, my skin is never tight or dry after use and it removes all of my make-up, even on my eyes! I generally buy this online because they usually have good offers and really quick delivery but I probably won't buy this again for while as I've several other cleansers to finish first.

Soap & Glory Hand Dream hand cream is the first to finish from my Christmas gift set (read about that HERE) and it's not that surprising really, I love their hand creams! Usually I use Hand Food but this is much the same to be honest. Himself uses whatever hand cream I do and he likes this one too. Would definitely buy again.

I bought Clarins Double Serum in the January sales because it's really very pricey. Normally it's around the €60 mark. Eep! Hence, sales! This is a combination of an oil and a water based serum. They're stored in two different chambers that join together when you press the pump down. I wrote about it in more detail HERE. My skin is dry and got on well with this so I would definitely use it again but only if I had the money, which I currently do not. Wah.

I waxed lyrical about the YSL Touche Éclat foundation HERE and my love has really only grown for it since. I definitely think I've found the perfect foundation for me with this and so I've already bought a new bottle. Love it!

I never actually reviewed the Anastasia Brow Wiz, which was silly really because I loved this! I had given himself a Sephora list (HERE) when he went to Canada last year and this was one of those items. It has a little spoolie on one end to shape your brows and then a twist up crayon on the other end to define. This was one of those perfect shades- I have this in Ash Blonde and it had no redness in it whatsoever. It was also easy to apply and looked natural on. Would 100% repurchase!

I've also gone on at length about the YSL Le Effet Faux Cils Shocking mascara but this is, as I've oft repeated, my favourite mascara. It's designed to look like you're wearing fake lashes and it does just that! My sister was so enamoured with how it looked on me that she is now also hooked! I'm already onto a new tube.

Last Winter I was on a mission to find a super moisturising, cold weather-appropriate moisturiser that would sort out my dry skin. After some ruminating (HERE), I went with La Roche Posay Nutritic Intense Riche (HERE). I did really like this, it was a good thick formula that then sank in well but I don't think I ever felt that tight Winter skin feeling dissipate completely so because of that I probably won't buy it again. 

Nuxe Reve de Miel is probably my all time favourite lip balm and this is only the second tub I've ever owned! I was hooked the first time I used this and would 100% buy it again. In fact I don't know why I haven't yet! Full review HERE. I should also mention that this little pot lasted just over a year, which is pretty brilliant really!

Lastly, I have D'Fluff, a strawberry shaving soap from Lush. Again, I got this a year ago now and it lasted really well. This was a lovely little product; it worked well for shaving, felt pleasant on my skin, smelt lovely and I never got that "fake" feeling from it like I do from other women's shaving foams etc. That could just be me being crazy though…Full review of this HERE. Would definitely repurchase. 

And that's the lot for the moment! Have you tried any of these? Do you agree/disagree with my judgements?! To the comments!

Wednesday 1 July 2015

When In Rome…Day 2!

You can catch up on our day one adventures in Rome HERE but for now here's day two, which was actually my birthday! We were up bright and early for a three hour walking tour of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and the Constantine Arch. Our tour guide was Italian but used to live in Dublin, oddly enough, just around the corner from where we live ourselves! It's a small, small world after all! 
We started with the Colloseum:

It's hard to tell from the photo but it was really bright that day, hence why I'm squinting like my life depends on it.

The sheer size of the Colosseum is just outstanding. That this was constructed in ancient times and is still (somewhat standing) is incredible. 

Down in the ruins of where the gladiators and wild animals were kept. Poor crayturs.

A surviving wall mosaic depicting the killing of a tiger…standard Roman fare at the time.

We then walked on to the Forum, a plaza that was used for centuries as the centre of Roman life and because of that time span of use, it's now the home to ruins of various differing architectural styles. I haven't shown them all here because I took a load of photos and you'd be scrolling all night if I included them all. Basically, it was just a very impressive space. If you're into your ancient history and/or architecture, this is the place to be.

I love how foreboding these photos look with that dark sky in the background. It actually drizzled a little bit while we were there which was gratefully received as it was a good 30 degrees.

Casually wearing my Roman sandals while walking around on ancient Roman marble. As you do.

Random lovely field amongst the ruins.

Google tells me that the Constantine Arch was erected by the Roman senate to commemorate Constantine 1's victory over Maxentius in battle in 312. Seriously like, 312!!!!! In fairness I learned that on the tour but my brain was struggling too much with the heat to remember that at the time.

Obligatory selfie at the Constantine Arch.

Birthday gelato, of course! I'm obsessed with pistachio and cherry/berry flavours, so that's what those were. Himself usually goes for nocciolato and something chocolatey. NOM. It was well deserved after all the walking! 
We also had lunch and dinner that day but I took no photos of those cause I was too busy eating and drinking…I'm not even a little bit sorry, either!