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Tuesday 29 December 2015

My Get-Party-Ready Tan Routine

As I've mentioned before, I am a total tanning re-convert. If that makes no sense, let me reiterate. Back in my teen years and early twenties I wore a lot of tan. Back then, it smelt awful and I probably looked a state and thankfully a lot has changed since then. For one, you don't have to spend a small fortune on your tan to get a high quality result. I rarely if ever spend more than a tenner on a fake tan now because I've tried them all and I know the good from the bad. I also have my tanning routine down to a fine art. 
So, here it is, prepare yisser selves! And as it's party season, there's no better time to perfect your own tanning routine! I have daily steps listed to bring you from today right up to New Years Eve on Thursday!

1. So first up, I exfoliate the bejaysus out of myself. I'll be doing this part today as I generally do this the day before I tan so my skin is smooth and calm by the main event.
I'm always trying new exfoliators so in my shower at the minute are; Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub. This is a brand new tub cause I'm using up another as we speak but this fella is a well known classic so you probably don't need a run down but here goes; it smells incredible and is a nifty little body scrub. I would eat it if I could but my brain has a built in life-preserver so here we are.
Next up is The Body Shop Coconut scrub. I've used several different Body Shop scrubs and they're all excellent. Generally they all smell wonderful and contain fair trade ingredients so you're on to a winner. Lastly, I'm loving this scrub from Kiehls. I'm a big fan of the brand and this has a gloriously comforting scent. It's more like a shower cream that has a very fine exfoliator in it so it's a pleasure to use and it smells vaguely like holidays which is always lovely. I usually dry exfoliate first; this means I apply the scrub to dry skin first with a circular motion, then wash it off while using a circular motion again. I also do any shaving that I need to during this shower.

2. I lightly moisturise
By this I mean I use a light body lotion, again I'll be doing this today. I want my skin to be moisturised after the exfoliating but I don't want so much moisture that it leaves a residue and causes streaks when I apply the tan. So, at the minute I'm using this body lotion from Victorias Secret, which is lovely and smells delightful. It adds enough comfort to my skin so that it's no longer dry and itchy but not so much that I feel greasy. Yay for not feeling greasy!
A long term favourite is the Ginger Rush Body Cream from Origins. Although this has a light texture, it's still deeply moisturising and it smells unbelievable!

3. Tan! Tan! Tan! 
So you have loads of options here but I promised a bargainous post, so:
At the minute I'm loving St. Moriz. Truth be told I never tried this brand until a couple of months ago I was sent these to try and I was pleasantly surprised. These are really, really good. My absolute favourite is the Instant Self Tanning Lotion in Medium. It says Instant but it also says to leave it for 4-6 hours so I leave it overnight. It has a guide colour so you can see exactly where you're putting it, I've never had a streak from it and it smells lovely. 
As it develops, there is a hint of a fake tan scent but apparently it's not that obvious because the first time I used it my husband said "did you put tan on last night? You look tanned but there's no smell". If a man notices, you know you're on to a good thing.
Also in the range are the Instant Self Tanning Mousse and the Instant Self Tanning Mist. I really like the mousse but feel I have less control with the mist. Either way, your end result is a natural bronzed glow- no orange tones here. If I want to be a bit darker, I put two coat on the night before. Otherwise, just the one. I'll be doing that tomorrow night.

4. Extra bronze & sparkle.
This isn't a necessary step but if I wake up on Thursday morning and feel like I was too light handed with the overnight tan, there's Rimmel Sun Shimmer Instant Tan.
This is the matte version but you can get it in shimmer too. I've been using this one since I was a teenager and it's pretty much fool-proof. Plus it has a lovely scent that makes me reminisce about going out back in the day in ridiculous get-ups that you need the confidence of youth to pull off. 
I'm also liking this Instant Tan Bronzing Gel in Shimmer from Cocoa Brown. This product came out just a few months back and comes in a matte version too.
Lastly, I usually add a bit of powder bronzer to my clavicle and neck and then up onto my face for cheekbones to die for. I love the Charlotte Tilbury Bronze and Glow but it's a bit too light for when I have tan on so there's also bronzers from; St Moriz, Chanel, and Florimar.

So that's that. Have you tried any of the products I've mentioned? What's your preferred tanning method?

*This is not a sponsored post but does feature some products I was sent for review. All opinions are my own, as always! 

Sunday 20 December 2015

A Pre Christmas Fashion Haul With SheIn!

I was very lucky last month and won a giveaway from fellow blogger Martina, of Martina's Mark. I love this lady's style- she's seriously glamorous and always puts the perfect outfit together so I was delighted to try some pieces from one of Martina's favourite online stores, SheIn. I had $120 to work with and by God, did I work with it. 

I'm just going to show you these via photos from the site itself because I am not a fashion blogger and if I tried to pose wearing any of these then this would be a comedy piece.

I love this white mohair and lace jumper, $21.97. 
It's wonderfully festive but oh so pretty at the same time. It's a snug fit and has a bit of a 50's-style-Christmas feel to it, especially when tucked into a big circle skirt.

I had seen these shoes on Martina's blog and swooned a little bit so I was delighted to find they were still in stock. The Red Bow Slingbacks were only $31.93 and are as beautiful in real life as they are here. Unfortunately, my feet are slightly on the wide side and these are definitely made with a slimmer foot in mind- something to bear in mind if you were considering making a purchase yourself. 

This year my love for midi length/knee length flared skirts took on a life of its own. I've worn a floral version from Oasis to death and was very happy to see the big range of skirts SheIn have. I went for this very cool Monochrome stripe that again, is great with a top tucked into it. This was $14.76.

Next up is this Red Cable Knit Cowl Neck Sweater, $21.97. 
I've already worn this to death since it arrived; it's ridiculously cosy but not too warm and it's not scratchy like a lot of jumpers. It's a neat little fit so it look as cute worn with jeans as it does over a dress or short skirt. LOVE IT. It may be less wearable in the months of the year that don't involve Christmas but I can see myself still throwing it on in March, considering I can't stop wearing it now.

I had to get this black lace collar top, $12.88 because look how elegant it is! I've been wearing it exactly as shown; underneath a skirt with my hair up so that you get the full affect of that lace. It's so pretty and is making me wish I'd bought it in every possible colour!

Lastly is this Black Flare Pleated Midi Skirt, $20.00. This style of skirt is very versatile and the fact that this is black means that it goes with pretty much everything. When people talk about "wardrobe staples", it's things like this that I think of.

There were also a pair of earrings in my order but they're part of a Christmas present for someone so I can't show them to you!
Delivery was quite good and there were no taxes to pay on arrival, which I was worried about as they were coming from outside of the EU.

Have you tried anything from SheIn?
Anything here you're tempted by?

Monday 14 December 2015

Book Gift Guide Christmas 2015

I'm pretty much avoiding writing gift guides in general this year (unless you count THIS one but that's a gift guide for myself, so…) but I always do a book gift guide because as I've often mentioned, I think books make the best presents. You still have about two weeks to buy your Christmas presents and as books don't really sell out, you have plenty of time to get this lot!
I haven't read all of these so you can't blame me if they're not all the bees knees but there's bound to be some good'uns in there! 
Clicking on the book titles will bring you directly to their listing on The Book Depository but you may be stuck now with Christmas delivery times so I'd say check out and support your local bookstores instead! 

For Those With A Penchant For Just Plain Old Damn Good Fiction:
These cover several different sub sets of literary genres so pick and choose yourself from Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Thriller, Short Story, Dystopia, Love Story and Epic Tales. I've only read one of these (Asking For It) but have bought a couple as presents, knowing they'll be good reads.

Fates And Furies by Lauren Goff, 
Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume, 
Asking For It by Louise O' Neill, 
The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham, 
According To Yes by Dawn French, 
A Spool Of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler, 
The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood, 
The Grownup By Gillian Flynn and 
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

For Those Who Love A Juicy Memoir:
I'm one of the those in this case. I love a good autobiography, generally I save my Audible credits for them as the author usually reads them themselves but it's hard to compete with a heavy, glossy hardback under the tree, am I right?!

Wildflower by Drew Barrymore. This is one I've asked for myself, it looks like a really interesting glimpse into her unusual childhood and how she found herself and her career in her late twenties.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. I've read this one and enjoyed it. It didn't have the same oomf to it as her first memoir but it's certainly enjoyable with a few life lessons to be learnt amongst Mindy's trademark self-deprrecating wit.

Spectacles by Sue Perkins. I love Sue and haven't read this one yet but it looks interesting!

Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming. One of the best books I read over the last year, unexpectedly fascinating and poignant in equal measure.

What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey. This is more words of wisdom from Oprah, rather than a memoir but sure, who doesn't want to learn from the best?!

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. Almost a how to guide on how to learn to ask for help and accept it when it's given to you. Amanda Palmer is just an interesting human anyway, I'd be intrigued by anything she wrote to be honest.

For The Cooking & Baking Fanatic:
You can't really go wrong with a cookbook, everyone loves food!

The Virtuous Tart by Susan Jane White. Following on from the success of her first book The Extra Virgin Kitchen, this looks at how to get a health kick from the sweet indulgences in your life.

Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward. I've bought this and Happy Pear by David and Stephen Flynn during the year for loved ones. Both have delicious recipes for those who are a bit more health conscious.

For the Adult Colourer-in:
Colouring books became HUGE in 2015. What was once the favourite of five year olds is now deployed by grown-ups as a form of mindfulness and is actually a great way to unwind after a long day. Know someone who's a bit stressed? Get them a colouring book and some pencils!

Secret Garden by Johanna Basford. This is currently the bestseller and is rather beautiful.

Vogue Colouring Book by Iain R. Webb. For the fashionista in your life.
Harry Potter Colouring Book by Warner Brothers. Fans of Harry will love you forever for this one.

For Beauty Lovers:

Your Beauty Mark by Dita Von Teese. I've never been huge fan of Dita (I don't dislike her either, I'm indifferent really) but I do appreciate her style, which is wonderfully old Hollywood glamour.

About Face by Aisling McDermott and Laura Kennedy. beauty experts Aisling and Laura have written this manual of beauty tips and I for one am very eager to read it!

Facepaint: The Story of Makeup by Lisa Eldridge. If I had even a fraction of Lisa Eldridge's beauty know-how I'd be happy, hopefully this book will give its readers some of that!

What's on your book wish-list this year?

Friday 4 December 2015

The Power Of Make Up

I've thought about this particular topic before but this week two things brought it to the fore of my mind again. One is that I'm back in hospital and two is that I had a listen to The Women's Podcast with Marian Keyes, Aisling McDermott and Laura Kennedy on The Irish Times website (HERE).
The podcast focuses on the restorative power of make-up to help lift you from your lowest ebb during times of personal stress; illness, both physical and mental and in Laura Kennedy's case, caring for a family member with a terminal illness.

I became quite unwell in my mid-twenties and without sounding overly dramatic, it was looking pretty grim for me until I got a last minute reprieve and a double lung transplant. I generally don't talk about this much because, like Aisling mentioned, I want to be seen as more than my medical history. However, all three podcast speakers touched on something that resonated with me.
 Putting on your make-up or even just something as simple as applying your moisturiser can be important because it's doing something for yourself. Marian Keyes in particular mentioned that for her 'make-up is an act of self-respect that may seem frivolous but is quite profound'.
You're providing self-care at a time when you may not be able to do much more than that for yourself. Before my transplant I was physically quite weak but when I could I'd put on a little mascara, sort out my eyebrows, add a bit of concealer and some lip balm. 
It was usually commented on by a doctor and/or a nurse and almost always in a tone of "sure haven't you more to be worrying about now than putting on your make-up", which annoyed me and I felt, was designed to belittle me. They failed to understand that what looked like a shallow act was actually me clutching at some sense of ownership and control over my own body.
This is by no means a new concept for me either, when I really thought about it I recalled doing manicures for the female residents of the nursing home I volunteered in when I was younger and the curlers I used to pop in for elderly ladies I've nursed in the past. The little things all add up and maybe there is something to be said for the concept of putting on your 'warpaint' too.
Of course there are also days where it's completely acceptable and normal to not lift your head from its pillow but I think it's important to recognise that when you do want to spend some time on the aesthetics, that's OK too!

Make-up is seen as superficial and a bit pointless for some and that's fine.
Personally though, it's something I enjoy and yes, it's helped me to feel more like me, at times when I had very little of myself left.
So I'm now in a similar position once again of being in hospital and hating every minute of it (although I really have no right to feel sorry for myself after listening to that podcast) but I am, yet again, turning to make-up for solace. 
My husband bought me this years LancĂ´me beauty advent calendar and so every day I'm in here I can open a new door to a shiny little cosmetic treat and I feel that little bit better. I'm trying a sample of a new-to-me moisturiser from Clinique that is wonderful and in the mornings I fix my brows, put on a coat of mascara, a spritz of YSL Black Opium and a slick of my Tony Moly peach lip balm and then fall back into bed again. I've done enough to feel a bit more Chloe than I was prior to that. I may also be doing a frankly worrying amount of online beauty shopping too but you know, that's helping as well so why not. 

I found the podcast to be really insightful and might be worth having a listen to if you're in a similar situation.
I'll also be picking up About Face when I get a chance; a glorious looking beauty companion from Aisling and Laura that's out now and looks like the perfect book for beauty lovers everywhere!

I haven't written this for sympathy (because I really don't need or want it, thank you all the same), I just think it's an interesting discussion and if you'd like to join in, please do!