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Wednesday 31 May 2017

Summer Reads 2017

So. You may as we speak be planning a holiday, some relaxation by a pool or the sea somewhere gloriously warm and exotic and you may be imagining yourself doing that with a book in one hand and a cocktail in the other.

Summer reads 2017

In order to do that, you're gonna need some book suggestions and I as always, have your back.
Most of these are being released soon, which automatically makes them "Summer reads" and others have a storyline that is basically just all Summer, all the time. So you have options, is what I'm saying!

Personally, I love a good thriller when I'm on holidays, because I find if they're really good, they'll keep me gripped for the whole trip. 
To start then there's:

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris
This is the second novel from successful domestic noir author, B.A. Paris, after last year's hugely successful, Behind Closed Doors, which apparently everyone but me has read (it's on my kindle, I have yet to actually read it). Cass is driving home from a work party when she passes a woman sat in her car in a dark rural road in the middle of the woods, in a storm. None of that sounds good, right? Right. Cass drives on after her instincts tell her the same thing and she puts it out of her mind until she finds out the next day that the woman she saw was murdered. She's horrified by this news and continues to blame herself, while at the same time, she begins to have memory loss issues to accompany her guilt. Is it all in her mind or is someone watching her, who knows what she did?
I'm reading this one at the minute and it's flying along nicely; it pulled me in from the first paragraph and I'm really eager to see how the story develops. 

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins
Another second novel, this time from the author of Girl On The Train (find my review of that HERE. Spoiler alert, I was underwhelmed). At the start of the Summer, a vulnerable teenage girl is found dead at the bottom of a lake. A few months later, a single mother is found in the same dark waters. Their deaths dredge up secrets that have been hidden for a long time. I haven't read this one yet but it's ready to go on my Audible account and I'm willing to give it a try, in spite of my feelings for its predecessor!

Final Girls by Riley Sager
I read an advanced reader copy (ARC) of this a few months ago (full review HERE) and although it's not out 'til July, I'd advise you to keep an eye out for it. It's not the best written book of all time but I was utterly glued to it and could not put it down! A great thriller for a beach read, especially if you're a fan of thrillers/horrors. 

If thrillers aren't your thing but you still want a cracking good read, then try:

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Described as "a smart, warm, uplifting story of an out of the ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey, as she realises the only way to survive is to open her heart", this sounds like a fabulous book full of wonderful characters. I have this reserved in my local library and I can't wait to start it!

The Cows by Dawn O' Porter
I previously read and liked DOP's YA books so I was really excited to see she's released a book for adults! I've been listening to this for a few days now on Audible and I'm really liking it. The story follows three different women, leading three very different lives and how each finds their own, unique voice. Topics are explored that feel quite relatable for modern women; internet dating, being a single mum, trying to succeed in a male dominated industry, choosing not to have children, grief and loss. 

Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh
This is sitting in my to-be-read pile, staring at me and I really want to get started on it as it sounds just like my cup of tea! Set in 1950's colonial Kenya, young British woman Rachel returns to her fathers Kenyan farm, where she spent her childhood, to find all has changed. Her father has remarried a strange and intolerant woman, while the political climate in the country has grown strained and approaches boiling point. Throughout this, Rachel begins a covert relationship that society would not approve of and may cost her more than she bargained for. This sounds like the perfect historical fiction to while away a lazy Summer's afternoon with.

If that all sounds great but you want to read a book that involves very little mental expenditure on your part, then check out these YA novels that have caught my eye:

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
I read this in the space of a five hour flight last month- I could not and would not put it down. I didn't even stop to look at the in-air shopping magazine and that's saying something! 
This isn't actually YA but the author has previously only written YA and this felt like that style to me, so I'm including it here, even if that is cheating. Ahem. 
Lane Roanoke is fifteen and her mother has just killed herself. Her wealthy grandparents, whom she's never met, take her in and so she goes to live on their sprawling Kansas country estate, where her cousin Allegra also lives. Allegra informs her that the Roanoke girls "never last long around here. We either run or we die". Creepy, right?
It is! And a great Summer read as it's permanently sweaty and boiling hot in the book, so you'll feel like you're right there with them!

One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton
It's been a year since Milly, Elyse and Leonie's dad died and a year since their family trip to Rome. Even though their grief is still raw, the sisters decide to  return to Rome for the Summer for gelato, sun and new love interests. Of course, life is not that easy and Milly in particular must find her way back to the person she used to be. This is again, waiting for me on my Kindle. I requested an ARC of this because Italy, obviously but it also sounds like an ideal Summer read!

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus
This is another ARC that I just read a couple of weeks ago and again, I could not put it down. It's The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars; a jock, a straight A student, a homecoming queen, a delinquent and a weirdo are in detention. One of them dies while there, but who did it? As the book goes on, it appears they all had a motive. I partly guessed the ending to this one but if you like to read something a little trashy and haven't gotten over a love of teen TV drama (raises hand), then this is the one for you!

Other options that I don't know enough about I'm going to include anyway:

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan.
I have this on my kindle, I haven't read it yet but it's been described as "the feel good novel of the year" so if that's your thing, go forth and read!

David Sedaris Theft by Finding. Diaries 1977-2002
I LOVE Davis Sedaris. He could read his grocery list aloud and I'd buy it. I've pre-ordered this on Audible for its release- you have to listen to him read his own books, it's the best way!

The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey
This is the second novel from the author of the zombie-tastic, The Girl With All the Gifts. This is not a sequel to that but the author has said that it "exists within the same universe". And that's all I know about that, except that I will of course, be reading this. 

I will be reviewing all of these in full (if I haven't already) right here but feel free to follow my progress over on Goodreads also! 

And that's all for now. 
Have any of these made your Summer reading list?
To the comments!

Thursday 11 May 2017

Summer Scents 2017

I am one of those people that has to change around their perfumes depending on the season. Some are perennial favourites, like this Chloe perfume for instance, or my all time love, Hypnotic Poison, which will always remind me of nights out, regardless of the time of year. Some though, are perfect just for Summer and so I've rounded up the three that I've found myself gravitating towards since April, when we first began to feel a slight shift in the weather. 

My sister gave me the Diptyque Baies Palet Perfumé as part of my Christmas present and although it is a stunning scent that I would easily wear throughout the year, in palette form, I felt it was better suited for Summer- the scent is so fresh and berry-ish that it straight away made me think of all the windows open in the house, blowing a breeze through the warmth but also, freshly washed clothes and gelato, for some reason. But then, I probably do think about gelato more than your average person does anyway. Because it's a room fragrance, this one is a bit of a cheat but I don't care, I love it. My house is gonna smell delightfully Summery, all, er, Summer long. 

Diptyque Baies Palet Perfumé

I was sent a bottle of White Musk L'eau from The Body Shop recently- this is a new release for Summer this year and is an updated version of the classic Body Shop fragrance, White Musk, which we all either had or constantly went into the store to spray all over ourselves back in the day. That said, when I smelt this, it in no way brought me back to the 90's and my tween years, in case you were hoping for a walk down memory lane. 
Yes, it has a hit of musk in there but it feels more like that's there to balance the fresh, floral that's there too. That means that if you like a light, feminine perfume but you don't like something too sweet, this is perfect for you. It's rather lovely.
Oh and look at that bottle. The Body Shop packaging is so sleek and refined, I love it. Perfect dressing table bottle.

White Musk L'eau The Body Shop

Lastly, is Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess. Every year, Estée Lauder releases this as a limited edition for the Summer. Up until now, I've always lusted after it but never actually bought it, until I was flying home from Crete and found the last remaining bottle on the duty free shelf for cheap. This is the Eau Fraîche Skinscent, rather than the Eau de Parfum, but it still lasts really well on my skin. This is the ultimate summer scent, in fact everyone who has met me when I've been wearing this has remarked that I smell like Summer. It's the combination of coconut milk, vanilla, bergamot, amber, jasmine and orange flower that does it. For me, that all translates to an instant hit of Summer- it smells like the sun on tanned skin, cocktails, sun lotion and long, warm evenings. I am obsessed. Now I want the Shimmery oil spray for hair & body and the illuminating powder gelee compact, which looks BEAUTIFUL. Swoon. 

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess

And that, is that.
Have you already got your perfect Summer scent yet?
Have you tried any of these
Are you also a Bronze Goddess addict or is it White musk all the way?
So many questions!
To the comments!

Sunday 7 May 2017

Charlotte Tilbury Secret Salma & NYX Nude Suede Shoes- the Perfect Combo!

When I blogged about Charlotte Tilbury's beloved lipstick Pillow Talk (HERE), I mentioned that I had first fallen into the nude lipstick loving ways by using this lipliner from NYX, Nude Suede Shoes, in combination with Secret Salma, one of the Hot Lips Lipsticks- created in collaboration with 12 women (this one is Salma Hayek), to raise money for a charity; Women for Women International

Charlotte Tilbury Secret Salma  NYX Nude Suede Shoes

 When these first came out, I swatched up a feckin storm in Brown Thomas to find the right shade for me. This is a deep-rose plum designed to bring out Salma's "beautiful brown eyes, adding instant sultry Latin sex appeal". Now, I don't have and never will have either brown eyes or sexy Latina sex appeal but somehow, this pink looks very nice on me indeed. In fact, if you head over to the website, you can see how this shade looks on a myriad of skin tones, which is quite cool. 

 NYX Nude Suede Shoes lip liner

The nude lip liner will pretty much work with any lipstick shade, including Pillow Talk so it's a good buy. This is actually my second one, after I lost my first one (it will now no doubt show up after I've bought another. It is probably at this very minute in the car, under a seat, next to an empty diet coke can).

Charlotte Tilbury Secret Salma

This is one of the Matte Revolution formula lipsticks, so expect a matte but with that super softness that CT has become known for- she calls it "cashmere-soft", due to the addition of orchid extract. I loved her Bronze and Glow palette but aside from that, I think lipsticks are what she really does best. If you're looking to treat yourself with something from the Tilbury counter, a lipstick is for sure the way to go. The formula itself is really lovely and super pigmented to boot plus, would you look at that packaging?! Beaut!

Charlotte Tilbury Secret Salma & NYX Nude Suede Shoes

As you can see, they aren't a perfect match for each other- there's much more brown in Nude Suede Shoes than there is in Secret Salma but there's also just enough pink and brown in both that they manage to work well together. 

Here they are on my face, more importantly:

What do you think?
Are you a Charlotte Tilbury fan?
I also have Amazing Grace, which deserves a blog outing too but for now, what other CT lippie do I "need"?! To the comments!

Monday 1 May 2017

Powder n' Pout; New Make Up Brushes You Need To Try!

Powder n' Pout is the brainchild of make up artist extraordinaire, Aisling Cunningham. Aisling hails from Co. Donegal, where she owns a hair and make up salon, and where Powder n' Pout was brought to life! I met Aisling recently where we chatted about the ethos behind the brand. 
I was saying about how back in the day, we used to apply our make up with our fingers (sometimes I still do for some things) or, God forbid, those horrible wedge sponges of doom. 
Realistically, you can spend as much or as little on make up as you want; there are some truly excellent budget brands around nowadays and equally, splashing out every now and then on something a little fancier is cool too. The bottom line though is that you need the right tools to apply it with. Aisling felt there was a big gap in the Irish beauty industry for make up brushes that are high quality but also affordable and so, she created Powder n' Pout.  

Powder n' Pout

I've had The Flawless 5 Makeup Brush Set, the Flat Contour P050 and the Fluffy Blender P310 to play around with for the last while. I couldn't find the Fluffy Blender when I went to take the photos and of course later on I discovered it at the bottom of my make up bag (#WorldsGreatestBeautyBlogger #BloggingGoals) so I apologise that it isn't featured in the photos but I'll tell you what I like about it and link to it on the website so you can have a look there!

Powder n' Pout

The Flawless 5 
The idea behind this set is that each brush is completely versatile- if you bring just these five with you travelling for instance, you should have everything you need to do your make up. The set is currently out of stock due to selling out completely in the sale but ordinarily you can find it HERE for €58 (€50 in the sale)
(From left to right in the photo);

The Angled Brush P120
Recommended use is for powder contouring, which along with blush and highlight, is my go-to contour brush at the minute. The taper of the brush will fit the shape of your face perfectly.

The Angled Liner P410
This can be used for eyeliner, eyebrow powder and lip liner. I've only used it for applying liner and a powder to my brows- I'm not mad into lining my lips. The bristles are really well packed into this so you get a firm hold for applying a straight line with- it's perfect!

The Bullet P325
This is for your smokey eye; it lets you work your shadow to the outer edge of your eye. I particularly love it for applying shadow to my under eye, I like a smokey, grungy look and because of how the brush is tapered upwards, it means you get the shadow just where you want it and not all down around your eye bags, like a panda. It's a must have for me. 

The Duo Tapered Powder P10.
I wish you could feel for yourself how soft this brush is, it's like stroking feathers across your face. This fella is a serious multi-tasker; use it to apply your primer, your liquid foundation, blush/bronzer or setting powder. Not all at once, obviously! I've mostly been using it for powder but I've also tried it for blusher and it blends outwards beautifully. Love it!!

The Duo Crease P245
Alright, so I know I've said you NEED all the others for various things, but you NEED this one for blending out your smokey eye, right into the crease. At the most, you need about three circular movements and hey presto, you're blended! You can also use this one for applying concealer to the delicate under eye skin.

Powder n' Pout

The Flat Contour P050 
If you love your contouring, this is the one for you. 
Unsurprisingly, it's a completely flat, densely packed brush with ultra fine synthetic hair. Because of it's flat shape, it sits nicely underneath your cheekbones, your jawline and around tricky spots like your nose and mouth. Good news is that it can be used with liquids, creams, or pressed/loose bronzing powders. This is a lovely brush to use, really comfortable on the skin but effectively transfers the product to right where you need it. It's €17, HERE

The Fluffy Blender P310
Again, this does exactly what is says on the tin. It'll blend and shade out to perfection. This is another brush that's tapered to the perfect size- it makes blending super easy. I love a good fluffy brush. You can find that HERE for only €8!!

And that is that. I wasn't paid for this review, I just love trying really good quality Irish products and I think it's important to share them when I find them!

Have you tried Powder n' Pout?
If you could only use one makeup brush for the rest of your life, which one would it be?! (cruel question, I know) 
To the comments!