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Wednesday 16 September 2015

My U.S Shopping List!

All going well I'm off to New York at the end of the week (I say all going well because I haven't been feeling the best this week and I have notoriously bad luck when it comes to health and holidays. Keep all your extremities crossed for me!) If we do in fact make it on board the plane, I'll have this little list in my bag for what I want to pick up while over there. Let me know if there's anything I MUST add as I trust all of you fellow beauty addicts to steer me through the maze that is Sephora!

First up, I will be buying a perfume rollerball as I think they're super handy and readily available in the states. I spotted Orla from Make Up Over Mind talking about Nirvana by Elizabeth and James and as luck would have it, it is available in rollerball form. 
If I like it, it's coming home with me!

I've seen so many people raving about the Lorac Pro palette that I have to see it for myself! I didn't buy the new Naked palette so there's definitely room in my life for more eyeshadows (there's no room at all really but sure let's keep the pretence going).

I will of course be buying a blush or two as I am a blush fiend and Milani baked blushes are supposedly the business. I haven't featured any lip products here but sure you know yourselves, I'll no doubt be stood there in the aisle with about about five lipsticks in my hand trying to figure out what to get. Desperate.

These are only small but I really want to try some eye masks and Sephora have a whole range of these handy little fellas!

The Kate Somerville Goat Milk moisturiser is pricey for sure but it might just be the Holy grail cream my dry skin has been looking for. Watch this space..

There's loads of different products in the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day range but this 5 in 1 styling treatment looks ideal in that it smoothes, adds volume and shine and repairs damaged hair. 

The last three there basically mean I'll be doing a big old Kat Von D haul. I'm not massively into full coverage make up but I have been thinking recently about going back to Estée Lauder Double Wear and sure if I'm thinking that I may as well try out the Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo foundation and Waterproof concealer
I also want a goo at the Tattoo liquid liner and the Waterproof Autograph eye pencils.

Other than that I'll also be looking at the Becca under eye concealer, all things Tarte and some Anastasia brow stuffs. 

I will of course also be hitting up Kate Spade, specifically the main store in NYC and an outlet near Boston. I don't necessarily want these specific things, this is more to illustrate all the many wonderful things I could lay my hands on!

Although you'd best believe I'll be hunting down the 'New York Library print scarf' there, bottom left! I also really want that 'Cold Hands Warm Heart' thermos but I'm hoping to get it a bit cheaper than it is here. 

With the exchange rate being as poor as it is at the minute I'll only be buying things we can't readily get over here and I'm limited by weight as we'll be driving for a good bit of our trip and I'd rather not be dragging around a big mad heavy case* so if you think I shouldn't bother with any of those beauty bits, do let me know and help me save my cents and dollars!

*by that I do of course mean that himself will be dragging my case. Let's be realistic!

Sunday 13 September 2015

Recently Read: July & August

I started back to work full time in July and haven't had a huge amount of time for two of my favourite past times; reading and blogging but sure here we are now, combining the two! Hurrah!

The Flower Arrangement by Ella Griffin
I requested this on NetGalley because I'm extremely shallow and loved the cover. That aside, Ella Griffin is an Irish author and I liked the sound of a Dublin based florist, dealing with love and loss. I surprised myself with how much I loved this book; I quickly became engrossed in the various characters and their lives and experienced a full range of emotions while reading it. Lara is the protagonist and the owner of the flower shop, located on Camden Street. She's a natural at her job and helps others express themselves through perfectly picked blooms. She's an empathetic and kind person and is instantly likeable which makes it even harder when her life takes some difficult turns. I cried heavily at some of these parts, dealing with grief seems to be an ongoing thing and so it all came to the fore with this book (SPOILER but I should warn ye actually if you are currently grieving the loss of a loved one or have lost a baby, this may be one to avoid). Even though there are sad and emotional elements to this book, it's ultimately about love and is balanced well by how uplifting and positive it is. I LOVED the tour of Dublin this book takes you on- I have a serous grá for this city and I really think Griffin did it justice here. I also have to applaud how well she used a significantly large cast of characters throughout the book- what could have been confusing was actually really well done. Even minor characters popping into the shop to buy flowers had interesting little back stories that sometimes connect up with other ones later on in the book. I thought that was unique and very clever and I would definitely recommend The Flower Arrangement. 

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
I love the website Go Fug Yourself and although I hadn't read the previous YA books from the two women who run that site, I was drawn in by the premise of The Royal We, which is actually kind of Will and Kate fan fiction. I know, but bear with me. Go Fug Yourself is seriously witty and sarcastic and plays nicely to my sense of humour. While The Royal We has less of that and is really more of a standard chick lit, it's well written and entertaining. 
Lacey is an American student travelling to Oxford to attend University. Who should be staying in the same accommodation as her but Nicholas, future King of England. Unlike a lot of other girls in the nearby vicinity, she's not particularly starstruck and although they become pals, she actually starts going out with one of his friends. The book follows their eventual courtship through their university experiences to life after studying and back to the present day where Lacey is being blackmailed by a dodgy tabloid journalist with information that could tear them apart and leave her publicly disgraced. Although it clearly differs from the real life Will and Kate, it has plenty of similarities and is a somewhat cheeky look at royal life- the Queen is portrayed as being a lot more craic than you would've thought and there's a ginger rogue of a royal brother that seems a bit familiar too.. 
There are a few overly lengthy sections that I feel could've been shortened but overall, this is worth a read if you're on your holidays, travelling or in your sick bed and need something light and a bit cheesy.

Down The Rabbit Hole (Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny) by Holly Madison
Let me explain. I was reading Dark Places (more of that below) and needed something to counteract the bleakness of that and thought this might be the perfect antidote. If you watched The Girls Next Door back in the early 2000's then you'll know who Holly Madison is. She became famous alongside her fellow Playboy mansion occupants Kendra and Bridget for being Hugh Hefners girlfriends with all the apparent perks of living the playboy life. Her memoirs tell a very different story however. 
Holly was a small town girl that wanted to be an actress and so moved to L.A. She loved the glamorous look and paid for a boob job with credit cards which unsurprisingly left her in debt and with nowhere to live. Long story short, she moved into the Playboy mansion. As she tells it, all of the other girlfriends were "mean girls" and were pretty horrendous to her. She lists all of their wrongdoings and mentions all of her own angelic actions with repeated references to what an "intelligent girl" she is. The whole book is like this- Hugh Hefner gets a good slagging with mentions of his bladder control issues and episodes of illness as he gets older that I can only read as an attempt to embarrass him, while her other ex, Kris Angel gets trawled through the mud as well with a big emphasis on his lack of intelligence and anxiety. Overall, this is very much a "Golden Cleric" acceptance speech but in a book form. If you've never seen Father Ted, then apologies because that will mean nothing to you. I'll admit, some of it was certainly interesting, purely in a gossipy kind of way and the feminist in me was outraged more than once but generally I just found it incredibly petty. Plus there was a huge amount of repetition and unnecessary space filling. Give this one a miss.

In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
I had of course read Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret when I was younger and so was intrigued by this new Judy Blume book, aimed at adult readers. Although it's fiction, it's based on real life events in the 1950's when a succession of planes crashed into a small town in the USA over the space of a year. Around these terrifying events, we follow Miri Ammerman (a young teenager in love for the first time) and her family, neighbours, friends and a whole host of others as they deal with this crisis in their lives. Unlike The Flower Arrangement, I thought the introduction of this huge cast of characters was quite poorly done and I struggled to remember who was talking during each chapter and what relation they were to anyone else. It may not have helped that I listened to this on Audible but I've read others comments on Goodreads agreeing that this element of the book was quite confusing. I thought the conclusion was actually the best part of the book but that couldn't save it for me. Just not my cup of tea I guess!

Jaws by Peter Benchley
Jaws is one of my all time favourite films and so I felt it was abut time I read the book. You probably know the story by now but it's summertime in 1970's America and Amity is a small seaside town that struggles throughout the year due to a lack of tourism money in Winter. Summer then is when its residence make their income for the other nine months and any affect on that would be catastrophic. Step in (or swim in I guess) then a great white shark that preys on the small town, seemingly intent on killing as many people as possible. All of the same cast of characters from the film are present in the book; Chief Brody and his wife Ellen (although here their marriage is on the rocks), marine biologist Matt Hooper and Quint, the professional shark hunter. Although in the novel they all have very different relationships to one another and at times startlingly different characteristics. Not sure I would've had a thing for Richard Dreyfuss if he had played it like this. Anyways, it is at times scene-for-scene with the book and well written in the sense that it provides a fair few tense moments but honestly, the film is SO good that there's probably no need for you to ever pick up the novel too.

Furiously Happy (A Funny Book About Horrible Things) by Jenny Lawson
Furiously Happy is Jenny Lawson's second book (read my review of her first HERE) and features more ridiculous and yet hilarious stories from her life. I did once again find myself actually guffawing and then reading particular sections out loud to my husband. This woman is just so very funny. A very unique and at times bizarre humour that if you get it, it's just the best thing ever. If you don't, you might be a bit puzzled.
Unlike Let's Pretend this never Happened, there was a much stronger focus on mental health issues and Lawson's own experiences of struggling and coping with depression and anxiety. The book teaches some pretty valuable lessons on how to talk to loved ones who live with these sorts of conditions, in an engaging and honest way and she also provides some heartfelt advice for those currently coping with their own mental health problems. Basically; you're not alone. She goes into much more detail than that and I found myself welling up once or twice at how emotive this was. If you liked her first book you may be slightly disappointed at how different Furiously Happy is. That said, I would still recommend you read it; it covers topics that are important and relevant to us all and does so with humour and kindness.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
This is the third Gillian Flynn novel I've read, the other two being Gone Girl and Sharp Objects and like those, this is a twisted and grim story with strong female characters that are not wholly likeable. I don't know where Flynn's mind goes to when she writes but I'm slightly in awe of her and her abilities. Libby Day is our narrator and the sole survivor of a bloody massacre that took the lives of her mother and two young sisters when Libby was only seven years old. It's 25 years later and her brother, Ben is in prison serving a life sentence for the crimes, which he was convicted of after Libby, the only witness, accused him of being the murderer.
Libby is unsurprisingly a pretty messed up adult and finds herself with no money, no practical skills and no real inclination to earn an honest living so agrees to meet with a group of amateur crime sleuths in exchange for money. Stunned at how vehemently they believe in her brother's innocence, she agrees to investigate and interview people from her past to prove she was right but the further she digs the more potential suspects come to light. This book is so skilfully written that I never at any stage guessed who the killer could be and so I was taken aback by the conclusion. I actually had nightmares after finishing it, such was the effect of the flashbacks to the episodes of violence. In spite of that, this was just a superb thriller/horror and one I would definitely recommend, particularly if you like to read the book before the film- it's coming to the big screen starring Charlize Theron soon! Woop!

Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
Oh Lord, it took me ages to get through his one. Peyton Place was written in 1956 and was an immediate bestseller that was later turned into a TV series and a film. It focuses on the lives of three women; Constance MacKenzie, a repressed 30 something year old, her illegitimate daughter Allison and her friend Selena Cross who works in Constance's store but is very much from the wrong side of the tracks. Peyton Place is a small New England town and is home to plenty of dirty little secrets, including incest, abortion, adultery and murder.
The book follows their personal journeys in navigating their own issues, in particular Alison and Selena who mature from being daydreaming teenagers to hardened women. At times this was entertaining and had that small-town-humour quality that Stephen King also captures very well but ultimately the ending felt rushed and there wasn't enough time dedicated to Selena- a far more interesting character than Alison, in my opinion.

And that's the lot for the time being. Have you read any of these?
Reading anything interesting at the moment?

Friday 11 September 2015

Soap & Glory: The Body Sprays

If like me you are known to lurk around the Soap & Glory section of your local Boots, sniffing everything you can open then you need to get on the S & G body spray train. I had been über excited about the launch of the Sugar Crush Body Spray, only to find it always out of stock in the store nearest to me so you can imagine the happy flappy dance I did when these five arrived at my door.

The body sprays are a good way to try out something from the brand without making the bigger investment that is the body butters or shower creams (which are huge and will last you a good year each). You get 100mls for €4.68, a rather bargainous price! Each fragrance is part of a corresponding range of products so you can layer your scents or if you find you particularly love one of these, there's plenty more to choose from the same scent.

Sugar Crush
Perennial favourite Sugar Crush is finally available in a spray, something which fans of the body scrub and butter have longed for, myself included. Sugar Crush, for those of you who have yet to fall for its majesty, is a heavenly combination of lime, brown sugar, ginger, coconut and vanilla musk. Kind of like wearing a mojito but without the rum and a lot less sticky. While this one is sweet, it's nicely balanced with that uplifting hit of lime so it feels refreshing and then is mellowed by the ginger. 

Original Pink
This is the original S & G scent and is pretty much instantly recognisable as it's the same fragrance as The Righteous Butter and Clean On Me. This is light and fresh with orange leaf, lemon, peach, sweet strawberries, Summer rose, gardenia blooms and jasmine. I would classify this as a more classically elegant, feminine fragrance and should appeal to a wider audience because of that. 

Mist You Madly
Mist You Madly was made for those who like Original Pink but prefer a stronger fragrance or wanted something for night time. As such, this is certainly a lot less sweet and has almost a masculine quality as it features bergamot, musk, sandalwood, cardamom, and patchouli alongside sweeter elements like vanilla, freesia, mandarin and magnolia. This is probably my least favourite out of the five but that's purely a personal preference. If you prefer fragrances that lean towards the masculine then this is for you.

Fruitigo is the same scent as Butter Yourself Body Lotion, which I've been using since Christmas and love! This is obviously a fruity scent (citrus for the most part with grapefruit, sweet orange and lemon at the centre) but also includes wild fig, pomelo essence, peppermint oil and white musk. Nom.

This is actually also a favourite of mine as I've been working my way through the accompanying shower lotion for some time now. Orangeasm unsurprisingly contains sweet orange and mandarin. You'll also find geranium and lemon oils, mint and patchouli. Again, this is super light and is the perfect spray for when you want to freshen up. 

I found all of these to be quite long lasting and could smell them on my clothes for hours afterwards. Because they're all multi-layered with different ingredients they seem to last that bit longer but as they're body sprays, you won't feel too bad about liberally spraying them either. 

Have you tried the Soap & Glory body sprays? 
Which is your favourite?

*Contains press samples. All opinions my own, as always. 

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Decluttering Your Make-Up Drawer

Everyone seems to be on a general decluttering buzz lately. I don't know if that's due to the changing seasons or possibly the release of this popular book on banishing clutter from your life but either way, now seems as good a time as any to get rid of my old and out-of-date cosmetics. You might not realise it but these products all have use-by dates, after which you probably shouldn't be plastering them all over your delicate skin. 

I was surprised by how much went into the bin if I'm honest. A lot of my make-up collection has been sent to me or provided at events for review so that does explain the sheer volume of products I own but I am less than impressed at how little I've actually used. That needs to change. It's all too easy to get stuck in a make-up rut, using the same favourite products but this has taught me to share the love a little and has reminded me of things I was originally a big fan of and then forgot about. I also found some beautiful items that I was subconsciously "saving for best" so I may well do a feature on those also- they deserve their time in the spotlight too! 

Your make-up containers should all have a little sign like this on them, indicating how long it's safe to use them for. Not all of your products will need to go straight in the bin at the stroke of midnight when it hits that date obviously but it's worth keeping an eye on things you use less frequently- changing smell and colour are often good indicators too. 

And now for my own personal clear out. 
Here's what's gone in the bin:

A fair few old mascaras, dried up foundation tubes and dodgy looking lip glosses.

God speed, friends. You served me and my face well.

Has this inspired you to do your own clear out or are you pretty good when it comes to make-up expiration dates? 

Monday 7 September 2015

Glossy Gel Lips From YSL, Clarins & Bourjois

Glossy, wet-look lips were all over the place this past Summer and have been great for adding a pop of colour but maintaining moisture, something I tend to lack when the colder weather comes along. I won't be letting go of that anytime soon so I thought I'd show you the products that have taken up permanent residence in the bottom of my bag. 

Left to right; Bourjois Aqua Laque in Babe Idole, Clarins Lip Balm Perfector in Rosewood and YSL Volupté tini-in-oil in Cherry Me.

First up is this offering from Bourjois. We all went a bit mad for the matte version of these last year (review HERE) so I was eager to try the Aqua Laque Liquid Lipstick when they were released this year. I had seen varying reviews of these but in the end I went for the shade Babe Idole. This feels cool and wet on the lips, like a very lightweight, watery, non-sticky gel. The colour is a bright pink, without being neon or in your face so is perfect for daytime. It needs regular top-ups throughout the day as life activities (eating, drinking etc) will cause it to wear off. This will set you back €12.49, comes in 8 shades and is a good option for throwing on on the go- you don't need a mirror or a lip liner and it doesn't feather or smudge all over the place. 

Next up is a new lip product from Clarins, the Instant Light Natural Lip Balm Perfector (Jaysus, some name, wha?). This is a gel lip balm version of the well loved gloss of a similar name from the brand. This is very comforting on the lips- it has all of the hydrating benefits of a balm with the shine of a gloss and an added sweep of pigment. It's worth mentioning that these smell strongly of caramel, not sure if everyone would love that. I like it but I'm weird, so…
Anyway, there's five in the range but Rosewood was the perfect natural shade, a my-lips-but-better with just a hint of 90's nude in there too. It's a lovely product but will set you back €19. Eep! I do think it's too expensive for what it is, which is just a really nice lip balm at the end of the day but is a nice treat and makes a great gift!

The YSL tint-in-oil is another gorgeous mango scented product from the brand that I spent ages trying to track down. This particular shade, Ma Cherie/Cherry Me/No 5 was pretty much sold out everywhere. I haunted the counter in Arnotts but eventually found it in Debenhams. There's eight shades in the range and each is a princely €27. I know. Stay with me.
This is a unique colour tint contained in 5 precious oils- the colour interacts with your skin on application, giving you a bespoke shade. It seems to get more intense as you wear it and when the gloss part wears off you're left with an obvious lip stain. It's another one of those lightweight, glossy gel finishes that feel as light as water but is working away at hydrating without you realising it. Like all YSL lip products this has an incredible mango-cocktail kinda smell, that means that I may well end up eating all of this some day…
That aside, I have a pretty big bugbear with; it requires frequent reapplication. Probably not surprising given the formula but it's niggly enough to mean that I wouldn't repurchase once it runs out.

I've worn that Clarins down something dreadful. Note the applicator on the YSL- shaped like a pair of lips to manoeuvre the contours of your own lips. Clever, eh?

Have you tried any of these three? What's currently doing the lip product rounds in the bottom of your bag?!