January 31, 2012

A Deadly Skincare Duo

My skin is something that always worries me and, to be honest, makes me feel crap. I've had some really lovely comments on here telling me that my skin looks great, but that's simply because I've mastered covering up every single spot and scar with concealer, foundation and powder. I love makeup, and I'm forever grateful that I have a means of concealing my flaws, but I do wish that I didn't always have to.

I'm really hoping that some day I'll be able to slap on a really light foundation, powder or tinted moisturiser and leg it out of the door. This is just as much about self-confidence as it is about the actual state of my skin, but that's another day's work! I'm trying my very best at the moment to care for my skin and improve it as much as possible, so here's what's been working for me.

January 30, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

I thought I'd brighten up your Monday with an insanely amazing and delicious recipe. This, my friends, is the utterly delectable Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread.

Yep, cinnamon, sugar and bread all in one crisp, golden and crunchy loaf. Feel free to drool!

Now, no beating around the bush here. This is a difficult recipe and takes a lot of time overall to complete so it's something you really ought to plan in advance. However, the results are more than worth the effort and the feeling of satisfaction you get when your dough rises will leave you feeling like a cross between Julia Childs and Cake Boss!

I came across the picture on Pinterest and traced the recipe to the amazing blog, Joy The Baker. However, the original recipe is measured in cups and isn't quite as step-by-step as I would need it to be so, I spent some time deciphering, ordering and converting it to make it understandable to other novice bakers like myself!

I'm going to focus on making the dough first which is, arguably, the hardest part. You can double or triple this recipe to make multiple loaves or get creative and make bread rolls, cinnamon buns, garlic dough balls (though maybe leave out the vanilla extract for more savoury treats!) and more!

January 29, 2012

Sunday Smokey Eye

I won't lie, I was going absolutely nowhere when I did this makeup. I had fun doing it though! I was bored and gave this a go in between copious amounts of Gossip Girl and The Lying Game (anyone else mourning the loss of Megavideo?)

This is basically my take on a grey smokey eye and 'neutral' lip. I couldn't bring myself to go any paler on the lip front, but I think the coral actually added a nice twist to the look.

January 28, 2012

Productive Saturday, Baking and January Carmine Box

I felt like dropping in and saying hello so, this will just be a quick post while I, quite literally, wait for my bread to rise!

I rarely do these random update posts because I don't ever think people would be interested in my rather mundane life but, sure, I'm in a chatty mood today!

Saturday's for me usually center largely around how long I can stay in bed before I get hungry/need to pee but, today has been super productive for once! I was up since 9am and have been on the go ever since!

My sister Aisling is starting her mock exams for her Leaving Cert on Monday and she had asked me to bake her something special this weekend and just help her relax a bit so I set about that until I realised we had no flour and had to leg it up to the supermarket. Let me tell you, 9.30am this morning was freezing!

Naturally, the recipe she asked me to make was lengthy and complex (It couldn't have just been cookies, Aisling, no?!) and I have been at it on and off all day! It probably sounds a bit stupid to some of you to make such a fuss over practice exams but, I remember exactly what it feels like to be going into the most important exams of your life so far and not knowing what to expect from the papers so, I promised her a few weeks ago we'd have a fun and relaxing day before the madness begins for her.

Here's a sneak peek of my craft!

In between times I went to the gym, walked home, took blog photos, wrote four blog posts and, now I'm here! 

Oh, Carmine sent over one of their January boxes so, I may as well show you that since it's pretty good! Don't read after the jump though if you're still expecting yours and want to be surprised.

January 27, 2012

How Very Pinterest-ing!

I have a new obsession. Pinterest. You've probably seen me Tweeting and Facebooking about it a lot recently and that's because (a) I'm absolutely addicted to it and (b) it's entirely inspiring and motivational.

Pinterest has actually been around since early 2010 but, has only come to the fore in recent months. For those of you who don't know what it is, in brief, it is basically an online scrapbooking service. Users have "boards" which they can categorise and "Pin" any images to which take their fancy.

My Profile

January 26, 2012

Putting Vichy Dermablend to the Test

Most of you that read beauty blogs on a regular basis will have heard about Vichy Dermablend. It's a super-heavy-duty concealer that claims to correct, well, pretty much anything. Sinéad already blogged  back in October about an amazing promo video that Vichy put out to show just how much it will cover. Dermablend was used to hide all of Ricky Genest's tattoos (he is covered in them) and the results were mind-blowing.

January 25, 2012

Viva Health: Sweet Potato Fries

Another recipe for you and, after the calorific nature of my last recipe, I thought I better make this one healthy! Sweet potato fries are one of my favourite sides to get in restaurants like Eddie Rockets and Counter Burger. However, I really hate that places like these deep-fry them rather than bake them. I understand that frying is quicker and makes for a crispier, crunchier chip but, it pretty much makes the health factor of these potatoes null and void.

Sweet potatoes are one of the best complex carbohydrates you can eat. They are packed full of fibre which fills you up as well as being chock full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which can help protect against heart disease and high-blood pressure.

For a really healthy dinner, have some sweet potato fries with a burger patty, including all the trimmings you like; lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles (though maybe not the cheese, bacon and fried onion rings!), but, just leave off the burger bun! A perfect balance of good carbs, vegetables and protein!

January 24, 2012

Russian Red & Émerveillé

More red lips. I apologise for the repetition, but I can't help but turn to red when I want to feel glamorous and confident. I needed this makeup to last me all day, from college to dinner to an event, and it worked pretty well. I barely had time to powder or reapply my lipstick all day, and when I came home everything looked pretty intact!

I'm starting to love how simple a bold lip can look with a pared-down eye. It took all of my strength not to put another shade into the crease, but I'm really happy with how it turned out. Oh and, Chanel Illusion d'Ombré is FAB!

January 23, 2012

Monday Morning Rain Is Falling

I'm not a morning person. I feel physically sick when I have to wrench myself from the warm and comforting confines of my bed and into a chilly, dark room and I don't acknowledge anyone before 9am as a rule.

7.30 am usually sees me bleary-eyed, bushy-haired and clumsy as hell but, because I work in a corporate environment (Read: Office.) I have to look neat and tidy and nicely presentable. So, I thought I would show you the 5-minute make-up routine I'm currently using that leaves me looking reasonably alive and ready to face the day ahead. I can do this entire routine using only two make-up tools - my fingers do the rest of the work- and it takes no cosmetic savvy whatsoever (I can do it perfectly without wearing my glasses/contacts!).

Behold! My foolproof, quick and easy early morning make-up routine, perfect for anyone who works or has early starts for college or school and wishes to maximise their face time with the duvet!

January 21, 2012

Baking: Slutty Brownies

This recipe is utterly delectable, entirely sinful and I can't take an ounce of credit for it! The original recipe came from one of our favourite blogs and, when I saw it, I knew that I had to try it out despite the insane amount of calories that, I'm absolutely positive, it contains!

Rose from The Londoner coins these little chunks of heaven "Slutty Brownies"; a chocolate-chip cookie base, a thick, crumbly chocolate top and an Oreo middle. What's not to love?!

I'm not a baker and I'm definitely not as dab a hand in the kitchen as Rose seems to be so, I think it's safe to say that, if I can make these, you can too! Taking less than an hour to make, including preparation, baking and cooling time, these little multi-layer cakes are a perfect treat for Valentine's Day, birthday party or because, as my sister Ciara and I reasoned, it's Saturday!

January 20, 2012

Setting Spray Showdown: MAC Fix+ versus La Roche-Posay Eau Thermale

I’ve long extolled the virtues of MAC Fix+ as a make-up setting spray. Sure, there are naysayers out there; people who hate the smell, don’t think it’s worth the money or don’t quite know what to do with it or how to use it. I, however, am not one of them.

Yes, I concede that paying €16.50 for a glorified bottle of water is verging a bit on the ridiculous side but, honestly, I can’t leave the house without spritzing my make-up with it. Once, I forgot and spent all day totally paranoid that my face looked powdered and cakey and not at all dewy and natural (ish) as I prefer it to. I can also justify it by saying that one bottle, with almost daily use, will last you a hell of a long time. I’m currently using up the dregs of a bottle that I bought in…I want to say…December 2010 so, yeah, it lasts!

That being said, I have been straying from my beloved lately and having a tryst with La Roche-Posay’s Eau Thermale. Naughty, I know, but sometimes a girl needs a bit of variety in her life! I’m not entirely sure about the fancy science that, I'm sure, exists behind both sprays but, I do know that each is formulated in its own way to rehydrate and refresh tight and tired skin. 

So, how do these two water-based sprays stack up against each other?

January 19, 2012

Orly Rage

Sinéad and I like to fuel each other's chronic cosmetic addictions in more ways than one. Often we'll encourage each other to splurge on something special, egg each other on at the counter, or else gift each other something that we found on our travels. When my dear chum was in London before Christmas, she picked up this beaut of a nail polish for me, and I am eternally grateful.

Rage is a polish that both Sinéad and I have wanted for an age after seeing a ton of American bloggers rave about it. It's a gorgeous metallic rose gold shade that is super-flattering on my pale hands. Orly polishes are great in my experience so far - even with three coats, they dry quite hard and won't chip for a good while.

Do we like?

January 18, 2012

YSL Candy Face for Spring 2012

Pastel brights are definitely the call of the season this spring in terms of make-up and YSL is right on the money with their Candy Face collection, on counters now.

We've already looked at the spring launches from Lancome, Clarins and Avon and I've shopped my stash to find out what I already own to help keep my make-up on-trend for the coming season but, YSL takes the proverbial cosmetic crown with this latest launch. 

With Candy Face, the luxury French brand has really taken the pastel colour palette of the season to another level and has introduced acid-toned shades that are in-keeping with the general aesthetic but, stand out from the pale pinks and lavendar greys to, dare I say it, pop. 

In a sea of insipid shades, it's refreshing to see something bright and fun, especially from such an unsuspecting source as YSL.

January 17, 2012

Afraid of Red Lipstick? Try these...

I'm so obsessed with red lipstick that I tend to forget that I wasn't always so confident when it came to rocking a bold lip. In fact, I didn't start wearing it regularly until 2010! Before I became majorly obsessed with collecting makeup (read: was sensible and only bought what I needed), I usually just wore a rosy or pale pink lipstick, with little or no variation....vom. Nude lipstick is hugely popular, but to be honest, I'm not a fan and I don't think it suits me - or a lot of people that wear it!

January 16, 2012

Avon Smoke and Mirrors is a Real Winner!

Seasonal cosmetic collections are ten-a-penny these days. Sure, there are always one or two nice pieces from each ensemble, products that you ooh and ahh over but, it is really, really rare that a collection as a whole makes you sit up and think, "Wow!".

Surprisingly, Avon's Spring 2012 edit, Smoke and Mirrors, has done just that for me. Everything about the collection is perfect; from the shades chosen, to the way in which all of the products can work together in perfect harmony but, are equally impressive as stand alone pieces.

Looking through the collection piece-by-piece, the same thought kept repeating in my mind; "Ooh this is just like [insert other similar product here]". I soon realised that, with Smoke and Mirrors, Avon have managed to capture the best bits of some of the world's biggest beauty brands and condense them into one cleverly thought out, easily accessibly and highly affordable collection that is totally on trend for spring 2012.

Instead of giving you the usual run-down of what the collection has to offer, I decided to do something a little bit different and illustrate how amazing Smoke and Mirrors is at providing dupes for some of the best make-up products in the world and, amazingly, making them better for the most part. I've trawled through my own stash to find the products that each Avon piece instantly reminded me of so, read on to find out how you can build yourself a high-end-worthy collection for a snip of the price!

The stars of this collection, for me, are the two True Colour Eyeshadow Quads. Available in two colour-ways; Smoke and Mirrors and Mystery, the quads are a great mix of smokey greys, peaches and purples, all of which are on-trend for the spring season.

January 13, 2012

Tweezerman Schmeezerman

I wrote a list, awhile back, of beauty tasks I just couldn't master. Ever since then, I have mentally been adding to that list as I realise yet another beauty basic I struggle with!

One thing I have never been able to do myself is pluck my eyebrows. I know it sounds bizarre as it is such a simple task but I really struggle with pruning them and have resorted to always paying to have them waxed or threaded so that they are in a fit condition to bring out in public!

A few years back, I bought a Tweezerman tweezers, convinced that all my plucking problems would be solved. Even now there are no words to describe how disappointed I was with the cult favourite brand that people literally swore by for creating perfect arches.

I had spent the guts of €30 on a tweezers that was on par with one I had paid €3 for in H&M. Suffice to say I went back to my waxing ways at least until recently when a leopard print Manicare tweezer caught my eye
in a chemist and, before I had a chance to even consider it, I dropped €8 on them.

Well, let me tell you, I am converted.

January 11, 2012

Shopping my Stash for Spring 2012

With Christmas well and truly behind us, it is time to start looking forward to spring and the new trends we can expect to tempt us.

You might remember a few months ago we went to a preview for Lancôme's spring 2012 collection, Roseraie des Delices, out in February. The inspiration behind the collection was that of Laudurée macaroons and a garden tea party. The palette was a pastel cacophony of peaches, pinks and mint greens.

It seems that Lancôme wasn't the only beauty powerhouse to pick up on the juicy pastel trend as imagery released for YSL and Clarins spring collections both revealed a similar colour palette, though with different inspirations.

While it would be great to snap up every product in every seasonal release that takes our fancy, it's not economically viable for most of us to do so. In the spirit of being a recessionista, off I went to shop my stash and I found some spring trend appropriate products that will (hopefully!) save me from being tempted into frivolous purchases!

January 10, 2012

A Lot of Love for Exfoliating Gloves

I'm a lover of beauty on the cheap, as long as the product in question performs well. There's no point in building up a collection of low-quality junk when you could have one or two really good products for the same price, so I try to have the best of both low and high-end stuff in my stash.

I'm definitely late to the party on this occasion, as a ton of Irish bloggers have been going mad for these €1.50 exfoliating gloves from Penneys. I gave them a whirl myself this week and have been so pleased and suprised at how good they really are. They're basically gloves made out of a rough material that you exfoliate your body with (not a chance of me using these on my face!)  I like to use a bit of shower gel and work up a lather with them, but if you need a really invigorating scrub or are trying to remove the dregs of your fake tan, you could team these with an exfoliating product (Soap and Glory and The Body Shop do our favourite scrubs).

My skin was super soft and felt really fresh after using these. For €1.50, I can replace these as soon as they get grubby. They're also great in case of a  fake tan emergency - even if you don't have any body scrub in the house, these on their own should do the trick.

Are you a fan of scrubby gloves? What's your favourite cheapo product? Let me know if there's anything else I've been missing out on!

January 09, 2012

Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24 Hour: The Verdict

It’s rare that I get excited about a foundation. I can take or leave it and, usually, only choose to “take it” when I’m going out in the evening time. While that hasn’t really changed as I’m still using my trusty Mineralize Skinfinish Natural for day-to-day wear, I am absolutely obsessed with Lancome’s new foundation; Teint Idole Ultra 24 Hour.

We got our hands on the reformulated foundation back in November (Oh how long ago that seems now!) and I wasn’t sure what to expect as I am not a full coverage kinda gal! However, I will forever make an exception for this foundation as it is truly amazing for the following reasons;

January 05, 2012

Party Makeup!

Sorry that I look so pissed off again, taking pictures of myself isn't really my forté, unless I've had a few drinks ;)

January 04, 2012

Review: Avon Magix Face Perfector SPF 20

MagiX Face Perfector - Click Image to Close
At this stage, I think some of you may be sick of me banging on about my oily skin, but here goes. As a teenager, I struggled to find foundation that lasted all day. Everything would just slip and slide after a couple of hours, and although my skin isn't quite as crazy as it was, I still have to put in the effort to keep my base in place.

This is something that a lot of us struggle with, and after a lot of experimenting, I'm a firm believer in three steps in order to achieve a long-lasting, flawless base; primer, followed by a good quality foundation and powder. Some claim that you shouldn't use a primer every day - I don't really care to be honest, and I have a few so that mixes things up a little, right?!

This is the primer that I've been reaching for most often since it was sent to me to the brand a bit before Christmas. I wasn't expecting much from it, but have been seriously impressed with it so far. Looking at the packaging, I was expecting a fairly creamy-type primer along the lines of Laura Mercier or Clarins Beauty Flash Balm. The formula is actually quite thick, stiff and powdery - more along the lines of what you'd expect in a pot. It comes out white but sheers out and becomes transparent upon application.

Speaking of which, applying this has become one of the best parts of my makeup routine.The formula is really smooth and silcone-y, and makes my face feel super-soft. Pores, lines and scarring all seem less significant after putting this on, and it also has a nice fresh smell. All of this reminds me more than a bit of Benefit's The Porefessional (I've been through two tubes, so am pretty familiar with the stuff). Honestly, there is hardly any difference between the two, except that they smell different and the Avon product isn't tinted.

Another obvious difference is the price; The Porefessional retails for €33.50, whereas you can get Magix Skin Perfector on sale for a tenner here. It's definitely a great buy, as it mattifies, minimises imperfections and makes your foundation last longer, all in one go. On top of this, it creates a perfect base for makeup and contains an SPF of 20 - yes, I sound like an infomercial at this stage, but it really is pretty good. A tube will last a decent amount of time, as you don't need much to cover the face. I really recommend this and am addicted - let me know if you've tried it!

January 03, 2012

Forgotten Make-Up of Yesteryear

Oops! These photos are of my make-up from Christmas Day which seems like eons ago now! The quality isn't great as they were taken in a hurry as I was stuck for time before Christmas duties commenced so, it was a rush effort! but, you get the idea!

I wore a black and grey outfit including this skirt and this jacket so, I went for simple, smudgy taupe eyes and a berry coloured lip as it was Christmas and I wanted to brighten things up a tad!

January 02, 2012

Glitter Nail Polish 101

Glitter nail polish is the Marmite of the beauty world; you either love it or hate it. It's hard to be indifferent as it makes such a statement that you really have to like it to commit to sporting it on your nails for a few days.

If you're in the love camp then you'll know how much pain and heartache comes with wearing glitter polish. From the longevity to the removal, it's all a right pain in the arse! Makes you wonder why we bother at all!

As a pro-glitter campaigner, I thought I would share some of my tried and tested tips for increasing the wear of glitter polish, what topcoats suit best and the all important removal process!

January 01, 2012

GOSH Nail Glitters: Review and How-To

Happy New Year! Hope you all rang in 2012 safely and happily! 

If you saw the post on my recent cosmetics purchases from London, you will have seen that I picked up two of the GOSH Nail Glitters in Gold and Rose Quartz. The thought of these has caused quite a stir in the beauty blogosphere yet, I haven't come across very many posts on them or how to use them! I'm not entirely sure that these are available in Ireland yet but, I purchased mine from Superdrug for £3.99 apiece.

Unusually, they come with no real instruction. However, I do recall seeing the promo image on the stand in Superdrug suggesting that one would use a make-up brush to paint the glitter onto the nail?! Needless to say, I did not do that!

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