May 31, 2012

Inglot Obsession

So...I did it again. We all know that I have a bit of an issue with Inglot, almost rivalling Sinéad's MAC fetish! Since the Jervis branch opened, I've built up quite the Inglot collection, from blush to brushes. However, it is their eyeshadows that keep me coming back for more...this is my, er, fourth palette.

May 30, 2012

Back-Ups Box

I always wonder at those people on YouTube who have a drawer full of back-up products; their favourite lipgloss, limited edition liners, the works. What kind of money must they have to buy multiples of the one product in the one go? Is there nothing else they would like to try instead of having five of MAC's Eye Kohl in Feline "just in case" they run out of it?!

And it's not like I'm coming from an ignorant place. I too keep back-ups of products but, only those that are really necessities and that I'm pretty scuppered without if they run out. I don't really think the world will end if I have to go a day or two without my favourite lipstick but, I do think it'll come pretty close if I'm out of eye make-up remover and have to go to work the next day with last night's mascara smeared across my face because no amount of water will remove it!

So, I thought I would show you what I always have back-ups of. For the most part, I think that they are pretty justifiable and most are necessities to my daily routine to keep me clean and presentable looking!

May 29, 2012

Clarins Hydraquench Serum

For a long time, I thought that I wasn't yet in the right age bracket to be using a serum. To me, they were anti-ageing, firming products that were reserved for the likes of my mother, and weren't really relevant to me at all. 

It seems that I was fairly wrong on this subject, as there is a ton of serums out there to suit all skin types. As I've gotten more and more obsessed with skincare over the last year, I've become conscious that the skin 'types' that we all hear so much about are not set in stone, and can and will overlap. While my skin is combination on the surface (oily/normal) and I hardly ever have dry patches, this doesn't mean that my skin is free from dehydration. 

May 28, 2012

My Nail Care Routine

More than once on this blog have I bemoaned my piss-poor nails. I have shallow nail beds with thin and weak nails. With summer coming up, I decided to make a concerted effort to improve the overall health, quality and strength of my nails and, having used this routine for a few weeks now and seeing some improvement in the length and longevity (how long they last before breaking/splitting/peeling) of my nails, I thought it was time to share it with you all!

May 25, 2012

Blogging Organisational Tips

Dee and I are lucky in that there are two of us to carry this blog. Back in 2010, when we first started writing, we put ourselves under enormous pressure to crank out upwards of three posts per day. However, as we became a bit more comfortable in the blogging world, we realised that this kind of output wasn't sustainable; we didn't want the quality of our posts to suffer and we still wanted to have some semblance of a social life outside of the internet. We also realised that our readers are just like us and don't have the time or attention to give to multiple posts per day from the one blog. 

So, we scaled it back a bit and stopped putting ourselves under so much pressure. No one else expected a post from us every few hours. Hell, I'm sure no one even expected a post from us every day! Now, almost two years down the line, we have a system in place that works for us. With Dee in college and me working full time, it's sometimes hard to find the time to write, take product photos and be creative while also still devoting 100% of our attention to our respective studies, jobs, hobbies and social lives. 

With this in mind, I thought I would share some of my own organisation tips that make blogging a fun add-on to my days instead of feeling like it is a chore or a second job. I'm not in anyway saying that I am the gospel on organisation tips and how to run a blog but, if you are already a blogger and are finding it hard to juggle everything or if you are thinking about starting your own blog and don't know how to fit it in around your already hectic life then, this may be of some use! Take from it what you will and, please, if you have any tips of your own, leave them in the comments!

Plan Ahead

My number one piece of organisational advice for the busy blogger is to always think at least two weeks in advance. Have a list of post ideas that you are constantly adding to and write and schedule them ahead of time. As it stands, I have posts scheduled until the middle of June. It means no last minute panic when a post is due up and you can always rest assured that your readers will have new material to enjoy! If there is something pressing or something you just have to share with your readers as soon as possible, just reschedule another post and pop the urgent one up instead!

The Words Can Follow

Good quality pictures are really the backbone on which blog posts are built. It could be a Pulitzer Prize winning author writing the post but, if the pictures are poorly lit and hard to decipher, readers will be turned off and not take the time to enjoy the accompanying words. I take advantage of natural daylight whenever I can to ensure I get good quality shots, especially of products where I want colour payoff to be as accurate as possible. Working during the day often means that, in winter especially, I miss the chance to photograph in natural light so, I have got into a habit of taking pictures on a Saturday and Sunday morning for all of the posts I have planned for the coming weeks. Take an abundance of pictures and write the posts when you run out of natural light! 

If All Else Fails, Fake It

Sometimes, you just don't have any opportunity to utilise natural light. In this case, fake it with a natural daylight bulb! The results won't be as spectacular as they would be if you were snapping away at midday but, you won't be left with pictures that have a hazy yellow cast and in which colours are totally distorted. I ordered my daylight bulb online for €8. It's always good to have a back-up plan!

Keep a Calendar

I'm my own worst critic and put myself under insane pressure in all aspects of my life. Sometimes my brain just feels insanely crammed full of information; blog post ideas, upcoming events, work, gym, holidays, money, and while none of these things are particularly taxing or worrying, trying to tend to them all individually often gets me in right tizzy. So, when I feel that stressed, panicked feeling coming on I stop what I'm doing, take a deep breath and sit down with my calendar to plan it all out. I use both my phone and wall calendar to keep me in check and the act of literally compartmentalising and boxing off everything I have to do soon relaxes me and I can focus a lot better. In the same vein, I also keep lists and tick everything off as I complete it. Both of these tips make the hectic jumble of work/life/blog a lot more approachable. 

Give Yourself Some Structure

I work best when I know where the finishing line is. Giving me an open-ended task will just lead to procrastination but, knowing when I'm supposed to have posts up ensures that I just knuckle down and get them done so I can put them out of my head and focus on something else. I post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and Dee does Tuesday and Thursday so, I always know that I will need around 12 posts for the next month and I'm happy to chip away at them little by little. If you're writing a blog solo, don't put too much pressure on yourself. Decide what days/times you want to post at and write posts with this schedule in mind. This will ensure that you take time away from the computer screen but, it will also give your readers a sense of regularity. If, however, you're not able to post one day or for a week, don't stress, just pop up a quick "Be Back Soon" post and resume normal service when possible!

Systematic Storage

This final organisation tip is really just for those of you who, like me, are anal about how your beauty products are stored! While I keep my regularly used make-up in a set of Ikea drawers, I have a second set of three plastic drawers that I use to organise products at various stages of the reviewing process. The first drawer contains products to be photographed and written about; the second drawer holds products I have photographed but, still need to write about; and the third is a mish mash of products that I either have not yet tried or am unsure about reviewing for a variety of reasons. While this system may seem ridiculous to some of you, it helps me keep track of what I need to do and also gives me inspiration for other blog posts. 

So, that's just some of what I do to stay on top of things! As I said before, I'm no expert but, I do practice what I preach and it works for me! 

May 24, 2012

Take Three: Nourishing Oils

Multi-tasking nourishing oils have been a massive hit in the beauty world over the last year or so. Bio-Oil and Johnson's Baby Oil used to be pretty much the only options out there - not any more! There is a plethora of products of this type out there at the moment, so much that we've also been inundated with them for review. I thought the easiest thing to do would be to show you three that I've used and take you through what I think of each of them. Interestingly, they are all pretty much the same price!

May 23, 2012

My Z Palette

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you'll probably be aware that I have a good few MAC palettes; five to be precise, three for eyeshadow and two for blush. While I love them, they aren't at all conducive to travelling as they are just too bulky to bring altogether. 

This summer, Kev and I are going on the holiday of a lifetime and, while I want to bring some of my favourite MAC shadows and blushes, I don't want to take up valuable shopping space with a stack of palettes! So, I decided to pickup a Z Palette to keep everything neat and tidy together. 

May 22, 2012

The Best Powder I Have Ever Used

I'm kind of a freak for powder, and have dabbled in a good few in my time. MAC Studio Finish and Maybelline Dream Matte used to be my BFFs, but then about a year ago, Sinéad converted me to MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Natural.

We've both waxed lyrical on the blog about how great that powder is, and I totally stand by it. However, I'd been on the hunt for a really good loose powder for what seemed like eternity. I was tempted by the loose MSFN, but thought it'd be a bit samey. I also considered the loose powders from Chanel and YSL, but the Laura Mercier one won out as it had so many positive reviews, and can also double as a foundation!

May 21, 2012

Sally Hansen Complete Care 4-in-1 Treatment

Over the year plus that I've been writing on this blog, I've frequently bemoaned my poor quality fingernails. I would say it's genetic except my sister Ciara has the strongest, longest, nicest nails I've ever seen so, that's that theory out the window! 

I'm always on the lookout for products that will lengthen and strengthen my nails while also protecting them and the newest one in my arsenal is Sally Hansen Complete Care (RRP €10.95). This 4-in-1 treatment protects, strengthens, nourishes and moisturises nails to promote healthy growth and to prevent peeling, splitting and breakages.

May 19, 2012

Smells Like Summer: The Body Shop White Musk Sun Glow

White Musk is one of those infamous products from the Body Shop that we've all heard of. Love it or hate it (I'm really not a fan of the original), it's a big seller that's been around pretty much as long as The Body Shop itself.

When I received this limited edition EDT in the post, I really wasn't expecting to like it at all. I was, however, instantly enraptured with the bottle. Although it isn't a very heavy glass bottle (which does make it more handbag-friendly), it combines two of my favourite colours, pink and orange. It's lovely, simple and summery.

May 18, 2012

Real Techniques Brushes (Picture Heavy)

I've been having a bit of a love-in with chemist/drugstore brands of late. First it was the Revlon Lip Butters, then some of Maybelline's new releases and now it is the Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman brushes. Created by Sam of Pixiwoo fame, I think that these all-synthetic hair brushes are one of the best things to come out of Boots in years! I picked them up on a 3-for-2 deal and got six brushes for around €48 which is insanely good value for money!

The brushes I picked up were the Core Collection (€30.49), the Powder Brush (€17.89) and the Stippling Brush (€16.56). Now that I've had a chance to use them, see how they wash and try them with different products, I thought I would share my thoughts with you! 

May 17, 2012

W7 Shocking Pink

I feel like there are a few things that I constantly bang on about on this blog. My combination skin, French pharmacy products, and lipstick of any kind are all up there, but pink nails are one of my biggest obsessions. I have an absolute plethora of pink shades in my collection - that and red are the colours that I always go back to.

May 16, 2012

Philosophy Lovin'

It always is such a big deal for me when products I usually have to source from overseas become available in Ireland. I feel like we're really far behind the like of the USA in terms of demand and interest in brands so, for years I have been getting my beauty fixes from generous relatives who don't mind going to Sephora for me on their travels! 

It was actually my boyfriend Kev's mam who introduced me to the brand Philosophy almost 8 years ago now and, since that day, I've been hooked! So, you can imagine that there was great excitement on my part when I discovered that a small edit of the brand is now available in Ireland. I think that Philosophy is exclusive to Arnott's department store in Dublin but, if this isn't the case I will update with a list of stockists if possible!

May 15, 2012

Lush Newbies

I seriously love Lush, but it seems that I kind of forgot that fact for a couple of months. However, a spur-of-the-moment trip to their Grafton Street branch at the weekend fixed me!

Sometimes I love speed-shopping. You know when you just run in, scan the shelves with more concentration than Einstein himself, and leg it out with just what you wanted/needed? Yeah, that. I was really quick in Lush on Saturday (probably because I was starving and about to go for dinner), and it actually worked to my advantage. I came out with two really good products that I'd been meaning to try, and I didn't break the bank either.

May 14, 2012

Striped Nails!

I'm still getting back into the swing of nail art. For ages, I was solely into block colours, and even quit my glitter habit for a while - very odd for me! Anyhow, as we're edging closer to the summertime, I've found myself getting back into more decorative manicures. I got the idea for this from Dolly Rouge - I saw that Rachelle used the essence nail tip painter to create vertical stripes, and it was a real 'why didn't I think of that?' moment.

Brush Cleaning

For some reason, and no, I don't know why, I am obsessed with make-up brushes. Given that I don't even wear the whole shebang; contour, eyeshadow, liner, on a daily basis, I have no real need for having so many make-up brushes. That being said, I love them and have been building my collection over many years. 

I try to spot clean my everyday brushes on a weekly basis but, about once a month, I try and give all of my brushes a deep clean. A build-up of product on your make-up brush can cause your make-up not to apply as nicely as it should. Deep cleaning ensures that you get the most from your tools and your make-up as well as ridding them of bacteria and removing residual staining from brightly coloured make-up. I thought I would do a quick post, showing you what I use for both spot and deep cleaning and how I keep my brushes looking as good as new!

May 11, 2012

L'Oréal Elvive Extraordinary Oil

It's the age-old tale; we want what others have. Me? I've always had naturally straight hair but, I've yearned for hair that has a bit of body and a bit of wave. Nothing too drastic just a hair type that doesn't require hours of contortion with a round brush and hairdryer in order to achieve some bounce! 

While it's handy not to have to do anything with my hair after washing except towel dry and brush it through, it's also rather boring and I've never really had any need to play around with different hair products. However, I'm currently in need of a hair cut but but, want to hold off for a while longer before heading to the salon. The big downside of my longing-to-be-cut-hair is that the ends have been looking a little dry and split and not as healthy as they usually do. Having no experience with hair care to speak of, I had been pondering over what to do about them when, out-of-the-blue, a package arrived at my door containing L'oréal Elvive's new hair product, Extraordinary Oil.

May 10, 2012

NUXE Clarifying Cream Mask

Nuxe has been one of the best skincare discoveries that I've made thanks to blogging. Their Reve de Miel range, launched last year, was faultless, and now they've come out with another bunch of amazing products, the Rose Petals Cleansing range.

I was at the launch of this range a while back, and was amazed at the amount of products included! Obviously, there was a plethora of cleansers on offer (cream, gel, micellar etc), and there is also a mask and an exfoliating gel in the range.

May 09, 2012

Catrice Coolibri Collection for Summer

Just a quick post for y'all this evening to give a heads up on Catrice's incoming Coolibri collection. Out in July, this set is a feast of tropical shades and summer-friendly textures. Think easy-to wear eye and cheek tints, summery lip balms and colourful nail polishes.

Korres Lip Butters: Stick-v-Pot

If you've been in the beauty community for any length of time at all, either as a reader or a blogger, you'll probably have heard of Korres Lip Butters. Everyone, especially USA-based beauty people, rave about them and I was absolutely thrilled to get my hands on the Greek brand's Lip Butter pot in Jasmine late last year. I have used this to death and there is hardly any product left so, you can probably imagine how excited and intrigued I was to come home from work one day and find that I had been sent one of the new Korres Lip Butter sticks! However, from the first application, I did notice that there were some differences between the pot version and the stick so, I thought I would do a comparison post for any of you who are interested!

May 07, 2012

Maybelline New for 2012 (Picture Heavy)

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my complete love for the Revlon Lip Butters. Never before has a lower-end product impressed me so much and, the more I thought about it, the more I realised that chemist/pharmacy/drugstore brands have really come into their own this year, producing products that people have gone crazy over and have quickly garnered a cult status among beauty boffins. 

Maybelline is one brand that has absolutely hit it out of the park with their offerings for 2012. As a brand I never paid much heed to, I was intrigued by the hype surrounding the Color Tattoos (RRP €7.49), a line of long-wearing gel-cream hybrid eyeshadows. I picked one up myself as part of a Boots 3-for-2 deal and then was lucky enough to receive a package of some of the brand's new releases which contained another Color Tattoo for me to try.

May 04, 2012

Sally Hansen Spring/Summer 2012

There's nothing we love more than a nail polish launch and, as you're probably well-aware by now, Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure (€8.95) is among of favourite brands of polish. So, needless to say, there was great excitement when we got our mitts on the line's new polishes for Spring/Summer 2012!

May 03, 2012

Rimmel 1000 Kisses Lip Tint

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I really don't get the whole nude lip thing at all. Obviously, I'm fairly biased as it really doesn't seem to suit my colouring, but I really do think that, even for daytime, a berry-toned lip is so much more natural and pretty. 

May 02, 2012

Eyeko Skinny Brush Mascara

There has been a lot of mixed reactions within the beauty community about Eyeko's recent rebranding; some love it and some hate it. I don't have much of a prior history with the brand as it's not readily available in Ireland so, when I was sent the Skinny Brush Mascara (€18.00) to try, I was intrigued.


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