Friday, 29 August 2014

Mini Reviews | 5 Products I've Used Up (Empties #1)

Before I get into this post, I have to apologize for slacking on blog posts since coming home from France. I hate making excuses, but I'd been super busy showing my friend around Galway and Dublin for the week, then travelling back up to Galway for house related/moving/college things and finally trying to see all of my friends from home before we go our separate ways for the college year again - phew. I thought it would be easier to fit blogging into that schedule but I was mistaken, I'll be much more prepared next time. It killed me not being able to blog for a little over a week!
In any case, this is my first ever Empties style post... I'm not sure how enjoyable they are to everyone else but I find them incredibly useful. The concept is a little weird, basically looking into the contents of someone's beauty bin but Empties posts are a great way to get an idea of someone's fully formed opinion on a used up product. Most importantly, you get to know if the person would buy it again... and sure isn't that the main thing?! I've decided to keep it to 5 products to try and make this post somewhat short and sweet.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

France Haul: Makeup & Skincare | Kiko, Sephora, Yves Rocher.

Although I personally like to watch/read haul type posts, I know they're not for everyone. That being said, I thought I would lump all the things I purchased on my trip here, because a lot of these are brands and items you can't necessarily get easily in Ireland. I always think it's interesting to see the makeup and skincare bits people pick up when they're abroad and gives me an idea of things I might want to purchase on future trips! I picked up quite a few things from Kiko and included swatches because Kiko is something that's a little easier to get if you live in England or are travelling around Italy, Portugal, France, Spain. In addition to that, I think a haul is the only real way to show you these things... I'd be here for years reviewing everything singularly! ;) You'll all be happy to know that my french makeup vocabulary has improved significantly!
The bottomless pit of makeup and skin care goodness!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

FOTD - Naked Freak | Electric Palette Tutorial.

Okay, so I know I said I'd wait until I got home from France to do tutorials with the Electric Palette but uhmmmm, that didn't really happen. I've played around with it a little since I got it, but want to wait until I'm home (to the comfort of false lashes etc) to do some reaaally bright looks. So, wanting to keep it (slightly, only very slightly) more netural, I came up with this. I kept the crease brown and used a pop of colour on the lid and the lower lashline. I think the neutral crease makes it a little more wearable but ultimately it's still quite bright. I included one picture in the pictorial of a really neutral look I did, using the Electric Palette only on the lower lashline. I didn't take any other photos of that look, and it's so simple that I didn't think it would warrant an entire post but I thought I would throw it in here anyway because it's using the same 2 palettes (Naked Basics and Electric Palette) as my other look. The only difference is I swapped the bright lid for a neutral, matte cream colour.
I (obviously) don't have false lashes on in this FOTD, and if you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that I lost my lash curlers whilst on the trip. It was pretty traumatic, but I've since bought a different pair so the republic still stands and the earth has started turning again. Basically, excuse the state of my lashes and I hope you enjoy the face of the day! If you want to see my review on the palette, with my overall thoughts and swatches then click here :)

Friday, 15 August 2014

Top 10: Permanent MAC Lipsticks.

As a follow up post to my Top 10 MAC Eyeshadows post (link here), I thought I'd talk about one of my favourite things in makeup/life; lipstick. Unlike their eyeshadows, I think MAC do some of the best lipsticks around... especially for the not crazily luxury style price. These are the traditional bullet style MAC lipsticks, which people are probably more familiar with. They also do smaller ranges (Pro Longwear, Mattene and Mineralise to name a few) but I wanted to focus on their standard lipsticks because they're my absolute favourite. They have a whole host of different finishes (glaze, frost, lustre, cremesheen, amplified, satin, matte, retro matte) and a massive range of colours - I'd find it hard to believe you couldn't find something you liked with so much choice. I wanted to include a good range of nudes, reds, pinks, purples and deeper shades in this post. These are my personal favourite lipsticks that MAC offers.. most of them are all time favourites and 1 or 2 have been current favourites for a little while now. Don't forget that MAC offer the Back 2 MAC recycling programme, whereby you can bring back any 6 glass or plastic MAC containers/products when you're finished with them and get a free lipstick... and who doesn't love free lipstick?!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Get Electric | Urban Decay Electric Palette + Swatches.

I thought I would do a (sort of?) in-depth post on the Urban Decay Electric Palette that I got in Sephora the other day (I was super bold and bought "un cadeau pour moi-meme" but I wanted it for ages so whateverrrr). I've only just bought it but I think with eyeshadows you can often get a pretty good idea about how you feel about it from swatches and first use etc, unlike a foundation or mascara. I have only used these shadows on my eyes once, at 1am whilst playing around with the palette in my room. I actually did 2 different looks on each eye to try out as many shades as possible and come up with some looks with the palette. I ended up using all of them except Jilted!
I want to share swatches and my overall thoughts on this palette and the shades with you guys, because it isn't like a Naked palette where everyone is gonna run out and grab it for everyday use. That being said, there has been a lot of mention about this palette online already... probably unnecessary, but I thought I'd add to the mention ;) I will be doing lots of FOTD posts with this baby when I get home from France... I think that showing you the palette in use will be the true test as to how much I like it. I have done a FOTD inspired by an Electric Palette face chart which I will link here :)

On an only very slightly related note, I'm (of course) going back to Sephora before I leave France. Unfortunately, European Sephoras don't have all the same brands as the US one. However, if you have any Makeup Forever or Sephora product recommendations that I should try in particular then I would really really appreciate it. Also, Sephora FR has started to sell Formula X nail polishes. I've seen every American blogger talking about them and I'd love to know if any of my American (or French) readers have any shades that I should try. Merci beaucoup! :D

This picture makes me go all heart eyes emoji

Friday, 8 August 2014

Top 10: Permanent MAC Eyeshadows.

I'm currently sitting out on a back garden patio in the french countryside on a beautiful Thursday evening tapping and typing at my laptop - oh, I missed France! Anyway, enough of that... MAC. MAC are kinda one of those brands that a lot of people think it's the end all be all of brands.. and for certain products, in my opinion, it is. If you ask any man on the street (or my boyfriend) to name any makeup brand I'm pretty sure the first one he'd mutter would be MAC. I'm probably not alone in saying that as a makeup lover, I get asked a lot of questions from friends and family about "the best MAC this or that" ... which can be frustrating because even though I love the brand, there are other companies out there making better products! Nonetheless, I thought that it would be a helpful post to refer back to if you're thinking of buying a couple of good quality, key MAC shades or building a quad/palette for yourself. MAC eyeshadows aren't the cheapest and I think people are always kinda interested in knowing someones MAC favourites be it lipsticks, blush or eyeshadow so, here are mine!

I have to stress that MAC are definitely not my favourite brand for eyeshadows, but they do make some of my favourite eyeshadows... does that make sense? Overall, I think MAC could do a lot better in terms of quality.. especially with other brands like Inglot producing incredible shadows. That being said, there are MAC gems among several misses that I would repurchase again and are some of my most used and well loved shadows. Honestly, I haven't bought a new MAC eyeshadow in ages because they just don't interest me too much anymore. If I ever feature MAC shadows in my FOTD's etc, they're usually always the same colours! In terms of shades, I don't think that this is the most exciting colour palette and the reason for that is because I think MAC do neutrals very, very well! Their bright colours could use a lot of work (and a lot of NYX Milk Jumbo Pencil) but they make great bronze/brown shades. If you're a beginner and wondering what shades to put in your palette, realistically these are probably the shades you're going to reach for most. With all that said, I wanted to include 1 or 2 brighter colours that I think are great and can be incorporated into a lot of different looks - even neutral ones. Some of these are cult classic MAC shades, and some I don't see mentioned too often among favourites (I honestly have no idea why!) All of these shades are permanent and can be purchased at a MAC counter/store any time of year... I wouldn't be that mean and include limited editions! ;) All shades were swatched with no primer, in case you were wonderin'

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Top 5: Hand and Nail Care | Summer Edition.

I thought I'd let you all know that I'm currently writing this on a plane whilst flying to Lyon. There are Connacht rugby players sitting all around me... I'm starting to think I'm the only female on this plane - completely okay with that. One of them just offered me a sweet from across the aisle... that's sort of like a marriage proposal, right? I'd like to point out that I am naked faced and have my hair up in a hugely rushed bun. Now that you're all up to speed with that...
At the end of April, I did a post on some of my favourite nail polishes for spring and summer (link here if you're interested!) and I realised that I never really talk about my hand and nail routine. Not the most exciting thing in the world, but I do like to take care of my chubby toddler hands and, more recently since I took my acrylics off, my nails. Taking my acrylics off after a year was the thing that really prompted me to do this post - to say my nails were in bits would be a serious understatement. In any case, I thought I would do a quick post on some of my favourite hand and nail treatment/care products that are nice and light for the summer time.

First up is one of my favourite hand creams of all time. I'm a bit of a hand cream junkie and I always carry one in my bag. Hand Food by Soap and Glory was one of the first hand creams I ever used (years ago) and still buy today. These often come in their gift sets at christmas time and they're definitely worth checking out. The smell is gorgeous - very typical Soap and Glory 'pink packaging' scent. What I like about it is that it's not too greasy and feels very light on the hands. I use this all year round but I think it's a nice one for summer. The formula isn't too thick but it still gets the job done at keeping your hands soft. It contains shea butter, macadamia oil and marshmallow. I can definitely see why they call it Hand Food, it tastes good enough to eat (not recommended though... obviously!) I always keep one of these beside my bed, one in the bathroom and a mini travel size one in my purse. A must have hand cream!

Containing on the hand cream bandwagon, we have Roger & Gallet. Now, I have to admit I don't really have a scooby doo about the brand other than the fact that I know it's a French brand. I only got the opportunity to try their hand cream because my friend in France was kind enough to send me over a tube for my birthday. Well, I instantly fell in love. Mine is Fleur d'Osmanthus but they have rose, lemon, ginger and a few other scents in their hand and nail cream range. This is a nice 'on the go' hand cream and is the perfect size to pop in your bag. It contains shea butter and apricot oil. I can't stress how amazing this smells. I sat in a lecture and squeezed some of this out onto my hand, my two friends either side of me grabbed it out of my hands and started lathering themselves in it (a little dramatic but basically anyone who gets a whiff of this falls in love instantly!) I don't think it's the easiest brand to find in Ireland but they have a stockists section on their website and I believe you can find their products in Marks & Spencer and I can't wait to stock up on these when I return to France in August!

Next up is a product that Laura from Moustache Mouth recommended to me a few weeks back. I always have a problem with my nail polish taking forever to dry - I'm constantly left with finger print marks and duvet creases on them. She suggested I try the Essence Nail Art Express Dry Drops so naturally I went out the next day and bought them! This little bottle is a miracle product, especially for the price. You simply apply 3 drops onto each nail after you apply a topcoat and leave it for a minute. It's a sort of an oil type product and it leaves my cuticles feeling so soft after application. Now, I don't think that these make you nails dry instantly, but I do think they speed up drying time. The reason that I love this product so much is because it takes away the tackiness of freshly painted polish. I'm so impatient that the minute I paint my nails, I like to go off and do other things, meaning I get left with dints in my nails. Whenever I try and lightly run my fingers over them to see if they're dry, I'm left with splodges and I have to start all over again. The Essence Dry Drops prevent that completely.

Lastly is my wonder product of the entire post... if you are to try one thing from reading this, try the Lush Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter. This stuff is phenomenal. It repairs dry and damaged cuticles (which I definitely had after a year of acrylic nails) and can also be used on other dry areas on the skin (knees, elbows, the works!) A lot of people suggested I get cuticle oil after my acrylics came off and this stuff definitely does the job. This little black pot has saved my nails and they've been slowly (but surely) getting stronger after every application. It contains lemons to brighten the nails and soften the surrounding skin, shea butter, avocado oil, mango butter, lavender oil and a whole host of other amazing ingredients. It smells amazing and is lovely for the summer time. Because it's a butter and turns to an oil when you rub it in, there's no mess or leakage. I've found that it completely gets rid of the bumpy ridges I had on my post acrylics nails. A little goes a very long way with this product. I apply a dot to the nail and cuticle, then work the rest of the oil down onto my hands for an extra bit of moisture before I go to bed every night. Seriously, this stuff is fantastic! 

To finish off a hand and nail related post, I had to share a nail polish that I have been obsessed with ever since I bought it. It's Blueberry Nail Paint by Barry M and it's stunning. I'm seriously loving the high shine gelly formula and will definitely be picking up more (I have tried Watermelon which is a beautiful deep green and I can't wait to get my hands on Huckleberry and Grapefruit) Blueberry is a bright pastel that is perfect for spring and summer!

If you have any other hand and nail product recommendations then please let me know below! I'm also trying to pre-write posts so that I have material to upload while I'm in France during August so if you have any requests or something you'd like to see me write about then comment below or tweet me :) x