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Monday 29 February 2016

The Giant's Causeway

Just before Christmas, Himself and I decided to head up North for a few days, staying in a couple of really beautiful country house bed and breakfasts along the way. We also spent a day at the Belfast Continental Christmas market, which was lovely and very festive before then driving on to County Antrim, to the Giant's Causeway
I had never been before so was excited to see the natural wonder for myself! The area is comprised of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption, giving it its distinctive "stepping stone' appearance. Because it's by the sea, we were afraid we wouldn't get there on time as daylight was reclusive in the last two weeks of December but luckily we got there with plenty of light left and so strolled from the visitors centre to the Causeway, with stunning sea views to our left.

The Giant's Causeway

There is a bus that drives to and from the visitors centre, which we got on the way back as it was dark and windy by then but the walk down is quite pleasant and you can listen to your audio guide along the way.

The Giant's Causeway
The Giant's Causeway
The Giant's Causeway
The Giant's Causeway
Me there on the left, standing precariously close to the edge..(Bono was around there somewhere too...come on, it's a classic!!)
The Giant's Causeway
The Giant's Causeway
The Giant's Causeway

And so, we left the Giant sleeping and got the bus back to warm up from the cold wintry weather. In spite of the bitter, blustery day, I feel like we really saw the Causeway at its best. The high winds added to the rough nature of the place and made it more atmospheric. 
That's not to say I wouldn't rather have had a bit of sunshine, in fact, we most likely will take another trip up in the Summertime. 

Anyone else been to the Giant's Causeway and loved it?!
To the comments!

Tuesday 16 February 2016

Come, Look At My Trash #5!

Yes, it's that time again. I've set aside all of my empty beauty containers for the last few months and now I have this little box crammed with used up skincare, haircare and a little smidge of make-up! I truly love a good empties post. It fills me with a great sense of wellbeing once I've finished a product, which, granted makes me sound unstable but it's just about that small sense of achievement really! I also love reading other bloggers empties posts because if they finished it and loved it then you know it's good and worth getting yourself!

Bioderma Make-Up Removing Micelle Solution
I got this at the launch of Bioderma in Ireland last year (review HERE) and loved it straight away. It removed all of my make-up easily, quickly and without any stinging or drying sensation afterwards. A great option for travelling, the gym and for after a night out- a much better alternative to face wipes. Sometimes I use this as a first step cleanser before then using a balm or a gel cleanser but that really depends on how lazy I'm feeling! 
I have already repurchased a new one and I've even bought one for my sister, such is my love for this cleanser. 

YSL Le Effet Faux Cils Shocking Mascara, Soap & Glory Archery 2-in-1 Brow Filling Pencil & Brush and Make-Up Forever Smoky Extravagant Mascara.
I've spoken so many times now about my favourite mascara from YSL that you're no doubt weary of hearing about it but here's another one finished. I get these in double packs to save money whenever I'm in the airport so I pretty much always have one on the go. It's kind of ruined me for other mascaras now because I'm so obsessed with the big false lash effect of this one. I'm still searching for a high street alternative though!
I tried Archery as an alternative to Anastasia Brow Wiz and you know, it's a pretty good match! I really liked the shade of this (I had blondeshell, although the writing has completely disappeared) which had no red undertones, it was easy to use and lasted well. Would definitely repurchase!
I received this sample size mascara at a MUFE event and I actually really liked it. The brush is cone-shaped, interestingly and does add a nice bit of volume to the lashes. I would buy a full size but I'm currently trailing about three other new mascaras so I'm sorted for the moment!

Soap & Glory Orangeasm Body Wash
This was one of the big bottles I got in last year's Christmas S&G set (HERE) and it has lasted until now. I did try out a couple of different shower gels while using this one too but also, this is a 500ml bottle and each pump goes a long way! I really liked this scent and like all S&G products, this works well and is one I would recommend. I just need to use something else for a while, you can get sick of the same scent day in day out!

Cien Acetone Free Nail Polish Remover
This was a couple of euro in Aldi, if memory serves me correctly. I'd actually tracked this one down because it has a handy pump built in to it, like in nail salons where you press your cotton pad down on the top and it pumps out the nail polish remover onto the pad. Handy! This one works really well for removing varnish and I like to think that the acetone free formula is saving my poor nails (but it probably isn't). I will say though that the pump function stopped working as well the longer I had it and my hand got covered in the stuff once or twice but it's still not a huge complaint for the price and overall efficacy of the product. Would buy again.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer
The actual state of the tube in that photo. These are possibly the worst make-up product on the market, packaging wise. All the outside wipes off and the lid goes gungey but sure lookit, it's relatively cheap and cheerful and it is a great concealer, that can't be denied. I tend to pick one of these up every so often when I'm in between concealers cause it's an old favourite and so it's reliable! I don't think it's the best concealer ever but it's definitely up there. 

Nivea Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Serum Pearls
I reviewed a few bits from this range last year (HERE) and particularly liked this serum at the time. I liked it the whole way through to the end of the tube too and would definitely buy this again. I'm not sure that it's had any long-term effects but I definitely liked it while I was using it. 

Paese Automatic Eyeliner in Brown Glam
I used two of these in quick succession and meant to review it because I really liked this shade (smoky but slightly shimmery dark brown). It applied easily with no dragging and has a little rubber tip on one end for smudging on the go, which I greatly approve of! It is relatively cheap as I recall but unfortunately gets used up really quickly so I feel like you're not getting a whole lot of bang for your buck. The first time I bought it I doubted myself and thought maybe the pencil had broken off at some point so I got a second one to be sure, but no. I would buy it again though if I'm honest. It's a really good shade for lining blue eyes- I find black to be too harsh sometimes and this brown is a bit more flattering plus the pencil itself is a great formula.

L'Oreal Expert Volumetry Shampoo
I mentioned the conditioner of this in the last empties (HERE) and I really liked this set from the L'Oreal professional range. These are designed with fine hair in mind to add volume. I really liked these and would definitely get them again.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream
I reviewed this little pot of Charlotte's Magic cream HERE. For a sample size it lasted a surprisingly long time. I really liked this when I first started using it and I do still like it now; it feels quite soothing for dry skin but I'm just not sure it's worth a whopping €90! 

Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan 
I'm a big fan of Cocoa Brown, which you probably already know by now. This has everything for me; a great formula, application is a doddle, good wearability, and all at an excellent price point. My only gripe with it is that the nozzle on the cans can sometimes be a bit temperamental so I think I'll be getting this travel version (it's travel friendly because it's plastic and not an aerosol and it's within the limit for liquids and air travel) in future as it seems to be free of that issue.

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum
I bought this last year along with a La Roche Posay moisturiser (HERE) to sort out my poor Winter-ravaged skin and this was great. It's a light serum that feels lovely on but can take a little bit longer than you'd expect to fully sink in and be absorbed. Having said that it got on great with my dry skin so I would get it again!

The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Body Butter
I was sent a few bits from this range last year (HERE) and I LOVED them. I was very fond of this gorgeous body butter and the body scrub that was in my last empties post, HERE. These smell amazing and because they have a nourishing oil in them, they're great for dry skin. Would definitely buy again!

And that is the lot, for the moment! 
Have you tried any of these? What did you think?
To the comments!

Thursday 11 February 2016

Beautiful Make-Up I'm 'Saving For Best'

You know those beauty products you buy or receive as a present that are just too beautiful to use?
If you're a make-up addict then you'll know what I'm talking about. 
It's not like I forget that these items are languishing away in their'd best believe I know they're there. I just take them out every so often and look at them, lovingly.
Yeah, I know how that sounds but sure look. 
I can't finish that sentence.
Anyway, I thought I'd show you my "saving for best" products today with the idea being that I'll actually start using them and make 2016 the year I use ALL the gorgeous make-up I own! Please do let me know in the comments what your "saving for best" products are (if you have them and are as much of a weirdo as I am, obviously).

beautiful make up

YSL Rue De Babylon Radiant Blush
This came out a couple of years ago now and himself bought it for me for Christmas. I kept saying I was going to use it but kept not using it because it's almost too perfect to ruin with the swirl of a brush. The outer packaging! The heart shaped blush! Swoon! No more though, this beauty of a pink blush is going straight on my cheeks! Maybe not straight away, I might stare at it a little while steps after all!

YSL Rue De Babylon Radiant Blush

& Other Stories Blush
I bought this online when & Other Stories first launched because, obviously, I couldn't not buy a neon pink blush embossed with a quote from Romeo & Juliet. The packaging is a bit battered at this stage but I have serious love for the inside; it is after all, what counts. I'm not sure if I will even use this one because I'm horrified at the thoughts of losing my favourite line from The Nurse. 

& Other Stories Blush

Urban Decay Full Frontal Lipstick Stash
My sister bought me this last Christmas and I kinda stared at it open-mouthed with a plan to swatch them all and then post about it so I could actually wear them but you know how it is, I'm wary of breaking the surface on these little cuties and ruining them! This is a frankly, stunning set containing six shades of Revolution lipsticks from neutral to fuchsia to a classic red. There's also a 24/7 Glide On Lip pencil in Ozone, the brand's bestselling clear shade, designed to prime and line the lips. Some pretty awesome (and racy) lipstick names in there too; Ladyflower, Gash, Crush, Liar, F-Bomb and Illicit.

Urban Decay Full Frontal Lipstick Stash
Urban Decay Full Frontal Lipstick Stash

L'Occitane Arl├ęsienne Beautifying Powder
Another sister bought me this last year and as with all the other beautiful things I own, I fell for the vintage style bottle and iridescent pink powder and promptly put it away safely, away from my greedy little paws. But no more! I will be taking this out and delicately settling the powder on my skin for a post tan sheen. Lovely.

L'Occitane Arl├ęsienne Beautifying Powder

Benefit's World Famous Neutrals.
Four neutral powder eye shadows (Call My Bluff, Gilt-y Pleasure, It's Complicated and Kiss Me, I'm Tipsy) and two cream shades (My Two Cents and Birthday Suit) presented in a vintage style book pretty much ticks all the boxes for me. I even photographed these to blog about but of course, I couldn't face ruining such a gorgeous set so this was left to wait patiently. I'm looking forward to creating some fab smokey neutral eyes with this though, watch this space!

Benefit's World Famous Neutrals

beautiful make up

Do you also own and love any of these?
What are your "saving for best" products?!

Tuesday 9 February 2016

New England Road Trip: Rhode Island, Newport & Connecticut; the Highlights!

And so begins my series of blog posts on our road trip in the states from last year. I kept putting this off because we enjoyed it so much that every time I thought about writing this, I felt all gloomy that it was over.
Now that we've booked trips away to Iceland and the South of France within the next five months however, I can finally revisit our glorious stay in New England. 
After we left Boston (post on that HERE) we stopped into Wrentham Village, a premium outlet centre stocking such brands as All Saints, Aldo, American Eagle Outfitters, Gap, Bare Minerals, Barneys New York, Coach, Guess, Converse, DKNY, Karen Millen, Michael Kors, several make-up and perfume stores and of course, my favourite; Kate Spade, where I bought a lovely dress, earrings and a bag at a huge discount. We ended up spending almost an entire day here without realising it- the place is vast and it's easy to get absorbed in the bargain shopping so I would suggest setting aside some time here if you are interested in saving a bit on your premium brands. 

My beloved rose gold bag. 

Our next stop was Narragansett, Rhode Island. We stayed in the Tower House b&b, which has a whole load of positive reviews on Trip Advisor (HERE) and definitely lived up to them- the house itself was stunning and our room was decorated beautifully and thankfully, included air conditioning. Cool drinks were also provided in our own fridge (and badly needed as it was very humid at the time!)
Mary Beth greeted us warmly, like we were family really and provided welcome drinks and nibbles.

Click the bottom right to enlarge!

We sat out on the porch, listened to the crickets around us and felt our shoulders drop as we sipped our beer and wine. We realised at that stage how full on New York and to a lesser extent Boston was and we were really delighted to begin the more relaxing part of our trip.

Later that evening, we went for a great meal by the sea in The Coast Guard House, the top-rated restaurant in the area. We enjoyed seafood and cocktails and sat outside afterwards to digest our all-American blueberry pie while the waves bashed against the coast:

The following morning we were treated to a delicious breakfast that included this baked French toast, dripping in brown sugar syrup
I'm still thinking about it, several months afterwards..

Once we were well fed we headed out into the oncoming storm to Newport, where we spent the day hiding from the torrential rain in The Breakers, a Vanderbilt palatial mansion that has been restored and opens for tourists. We weren't allowed take photos, so sadly I can't blind you with how very gilded it is,  so these are courtesy of their wikipedia page:

The audio tour is really interesting and it was fascinating learning about how the very wealthy lived and Summered (100% keeping that phrase for future reference) back in 1895. We didn't stay the night in Newport but instead, headed on towards Connecticut where we had been briefly while staying in New York to visit family, but took the time to return to sightsee.

We had such a brilliant time the first time we were there, we both felt that overall this was one of the highlights of the trip for us! Plus, is there anything better than that sign, made by my very cute cousins-in-law? *heart eye emoji*

We stayed in a B&B at Taylor's Corner (Trip Advisor reviews HERE), a farmhouse from the 1700's that had that authentic old-timey feel to it but with all mod cons, thankfully. This was one of my favourite places that we stayed in. The owners left us to our own devices and we almost felt like we had the whole house to ourselves out in the countryside. It was so peaceful outside, while the house itself was cosy and welcoming.

We ate in Woodstock that night, a nearby town but I've no recollection of the name of the place…apologies. I really should have taken notes!
The following morning we were again treated to a great breakfast and made friends with the owner's cats while we made our plans for the day.

Taylor Brooke Winery is just around the corner and had a free tour on that day, so we of course took part! 

Although most of the fruit had been picked for the season, there were still some grapes left on the vines and so we got to see them being put through the machinery and afterwards taste some "ones we made earlier". 

It was a lovely way to spend the morning and we learnt something too (mostly what we learnt is that wine is delicious but we already knew that much..)

And that's the end of part one! 
I know I've crammed a lot in here but that's exactly what our trip was like; we wanted to see as much as possible, which we did! If I gave each place a separate post, we'd be here forever so these really are just  the highlights. 

See you in Massachusetts!