February 29, 2012

New Bargain Brand Alert: Flormar

Judging by the popularity of budget brands such as Essence, Catrice, NYC et al, us Irish girls are fond of a bargain. We can't all afford the likes of MAC and YSL all the time, and it is possible to get decent quality products at a fairer price if you know what to look for.

This is where the Internet is your best friend, and how many people, myself included, stumble upon beauty blogs in the first place. Googling reviews of products is a seriously efficient and quick way of finding out what is good and cheap out there! I'd be lying if I said I thought that everything made by, say, Essence is amazing - I'm not a fan of their powders, for instance, but a bit of research will prevent you from wasting money on dud products!

February 28, 2012

Shoe Saviours

I counter my hatred of feet with a love of footwear. I figure, if I have to see these ugly protrusions at the ends of my legs everyday, I may as well have them looking pretty.

My particular love is high shoes, the higher the better if I'm honest. Funnily enough though, I don't buy very many pairs of shoes. I would rather work, earn my pay, save a little each month and buy one pair of expensive shoes a year in a staple colour and classic design that will see me through every conceivable occasion. I'm well aware that I don't lead a lifestyle that enables me to afford "trend" pieces from expensive brands so, I'm happy to stick to my one pair of wearable, timeless shoes a year!

Happily, my feet respond well to high heels. I walk better and faster and I can usually last 10+ hours in vertiginous heels before I give in to any niggles of pain and slip my shoes off. That being said, I'm not without my arsenal of products to preempt and prevent any pain that hinders me looking less than my best (nobody likes seeing people hobbling in pain because of their footwear issues!) so, I thought I would share some tricks of the high-heeled trade with you.

February 27, 2012

The Most Underrated Lipstick EVER!

Ladies and (a few, I'm sure) gentlemen, please allow me to introduce to you the most underrated and underappreciated lipstick in all the realm. This, dear readers, is MAC Lustering.

Heard of it before? No, me neither. That is, until Dee and I went on one of our regular swatching expeditions in MAC; No Sales Lady, we do NOT need your help. Can't you see that we're SWATCHING!?, and gave it a whirl on the backs of our hands. Cue series of oohs and ahhs and What's that called?!

In the bullet, it looks a bit meh. Sure it's a pretty pink, perfect for spring but, for lipstick lovers like us who favour the brighter and more dramatic shades, it isn't exactly inspiring. However, on the lips it's a whole other story.

February 25, 2012

Chunky Gooey Cookies

I don't think it's too much to say that this is the only chocolate chip cookie recipe you will ever need. This, dear readers, is a recipe for the perfect big, fat, chunky, ooey-gooey cookies. Not only are these cookies amazing in their own right but, they are very, very similar to my personal favourite M&S cookies!

This recipe is an adaption of a whole load of cookie recipes I have found across the internet and in various cookbooks. I used 200g Cadbury's Dairy Milk and two small bags of Milky Bar Discs for the chocolate chunks but, you can feel free to substitute whatever fillings you like!

Find out how to make these cookies here!

February 24, 2012

Sigma Sigmax Synthetic Precision Kit: An Overview

I guess it's true what they say, that when it rains, it pours and this would be my second make-up brush post is as many days. Oh well! 

I mentioned in my recent "Current Favourites" post that I was loving the Sigma Sigmax Synthetic Precision Kit but, with so many other products to discuss, I didn't want to bore you with too many details. Also, if I'm honest, this brush kit really does deserve its own post. It's just that good!

To recap, I ordered these four brushes as part of the full Sigmax Synthetic Essential set off Cloud 10 Beauty and split the cost with my sister who wanted the Kabuki kit. For €50, including next day delivery, I got four top-quality brushes. Happy out!

February 23, 2012

MAC and Giorgio Armani Newbies

I actually acquired these two beauties a few weeks back, but am only getting around to showing you guys now. I'm kind of glad that I waited, because now I can fully rave about how much I love 'em. Lipstick is obviously a substanstial addiction of mine, but now I'm also developing a bit of a highlighter fetish (anyone else drooling over Guerlain Cruel Gardenia?!).

February 22, 2012

MAC 286: Go Get It

I would never usually post about a product having only ever used it once. However, for this, I will make an exception. 

This, dear readers, is the MAC 286 Duo Fibre Tapered Blending Brush. It is quite possibly the best eye make-up brush I have ever used (Yep, even better than the 217) and it is a limited edition release with the current Naturally collection so, it'll only be on counters for another few weeks.

The blend of fibres; synthetic and goat hair, as well as the tapered dome shape of the brush head make it the most perfectly constructed brush for crease work. I used it last Friday night when I was going out for dinner and I finished my eye make-up in record time. The domed head of the brush takes up the perfect amount of product and deposits it neatly into the crease while the overall fluffiness helps to blend the shadow as you move the brush.

Make-up brushes are one area I don't think should ever be scrimped on. One expensive brush is worth ten cheap brushes in my opinion and, for £22.00 (I'm not sure of the Euro price for this I'm afraid) off the House of Fraser website, you're getting an excellent piece of kit in the 286.

I don't think it will be dense enough for use with cream products but, I think it could also be an amazing brush for spot contouring (i.e. sides of the nose) and spot highlighting (i.e. top of cheekbones). So, with that in mind as well, it's definitely worth the investment.

February 20, 2012

Lip Liner Lovin'

It's no secret that I'm a lipstick junkie. There is no justification for the amount of lipsticks I own and there is no rational way to explain the differences between one hot pink and the next. However, it would seem that my obsession has recently evolved to include lip liners.

I used to think that lip liners were only for older women who worried about their lipstick bleeding into the lines their lips but, if it's one thing that blogging and watching YouTube videos has taught me is that lip liner can really change a look. It can subtly alter the lines of your lip, create sharp edges and a neat finish that really can't be achieved with lipstick alone.

February 18, 2012

Mars Bar Krispies

I'm quite lucky in that, not only do I love to bake myself but, Kev's mam is an amazing baker (and cook in general) and so, there is never any shortage of sweet treats around these parts! His uncle is also a professional baker with a really old-school, traditional bakery; think cream slices, fatless sponge cakes and fluffy soda bread.

With such an abundance of homemade goods around me, it's rare that I ever buy desserts. However, there are three main exceptions; Marks & Spencer's cookies, Ladurée macarons and rice krispie squares. The best chocolate rice krispie squares come either from Avoca or a bakery/deli here in Clontarf called Butler's Pantry. They are the most delicious, satisfying treat and I buy them when I want instant gratification and can't bear to take the time to make my own!

This particular recipe is actually adapted from one of the Avoca cookbooks. However, I use a lot more chocolate on top than they recommend so, you can either use the same amount as me for a good, thick layer or substitute it with around 250g for a thinner layer. The choice is yours!

See the rest of this recipe here!

February 17, 2012

Beauty Newbies

I posted my current favourites earlier this week and I was half-tempted to throw these three things into the mix. However, I haven't really been using them for long enough to know for certain that they deserve favourites status but, I thought I'd give you a brief idea of what I think on first impressions!

Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer: I have a bit of a fraught relationship with concealer. I am very thankful that I don't really need it for blemishes but, whenever I do use it for dark under eye circles or redness it never seems to sit properly on my skin.

Both MAC Studio Sculpt and Studio Finish concealers end up looking scaly on my skin, especially under the eyes so, I decided to try something a bit more viscous and light which is where Lasting Perfection came into the mix.

February 16, 2012

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Range Explained

Okay, so I promise I'll change the record after this post, but just let me say it one more time: I Love La Roche-Posay. Yes, I've gotten some for free, but I have been a longtime fan of the brand, and more specifically the Effaclar range, since I first picked up Effaclar K about two years ago.

I recently posted about two LRP products that were working particularly well for me, and mentioned that I found the difference between Effaclar K and Effaclar Duo to be quite unclear.

February 14, 2012

Jimmy Choo EDP

I've always loved perfume but have never been much of a hoarder or collector of the stuff. I think this is because I tend to use it up pretty fast, and also because it's bloody expensive. I've been trying to build up my collection a bit more of late after becoming insanely jealous of other people's 'fragrance wardrobe'. 

On my list is Chanel Chance (again), as well as Chance Eau Fraiche and Tendre, Coco Mademoiselle, Prada Amber, Guerlain Shalimar, and YSL Parisienne. I could go on, but I won't! A great site for browsing perfumes and discovering new ones that you might like is Fragrantica

February 13, 2012

1: Current Favourites

It's been awhile since I did a "Favourites" post. I used to do these monthly but, it got to the stage where I wasn't using enough new stuff to require a post every four weeks.

However, it's been a good, err, seven months since my last post of this type so, it's time for an update!

February 11, 2012

Essence Choose Me

I just had a quick glance around my room before I started typing this, and the amount of nail polish lying around the place is, well, shocking. It takes up space on my shelves, desk, bathroom counter and, er, the floor, and I've also got more stockpiled in two boxes. Shameful....NOT! I am obsessed and proud. Doing my nails never fails to relax me and cheer me up if I'm feeling crap, and I love having an endless array of shades to choose from.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

There is something eternally refreshing about lemon. 

It reminds me of hot summer days, Long Island Iced Teas by the beach, sorbet and, more simply, a glass of sparkling San Pellegrino with a fresh lemon wedge. However, lemon doesn't only have to be kept for days when the sun is splitting the stones. No, no. When coupled with the right ingredients, lemon can be the perfect teatime accompaniment to make you feel relaxed, comforted and snuggley!

My sister Ciara makes an insanely amazing lemon bread that I must get the recipe for but, today I want to show you a favourite of mine; lemon poppyseed muffins.

Click here to read the rest of this recipe!

February 10, 2012

Clean & Clear Advantage Quick Clear Spot Treatment Gel

I can't believe I have never posted about this product before. I suppose it's just been in my skincare repertoire for such a long time that it didn't even occur to me that you might be interested in it!

Clean & Clear Advantage Quick Clear Spot Treatment Gel is the absolute ultimate zit-zapper, spot-shrinker, blemish-buster, whatever you want to call it!

I think it was my sister Ciara who first brought this into the house and I used to use hers whenever I had a particularly stubborn blemish to take care of. She kindly gave me a tube when I went looking for it one night and the rest, as they say, is history!

February 09, 2012

A Fancy Outfit & Face of the Night!

I was at a college ball last night, so thought I'd show you what I wore!

The photos aren't great, I just took them from my Facebook, but sure you will get the general idea - I am no model or stylist and am not about to pretend to be one! The night was great fun and, for once, I don't actually have a sore head today, which is amazing.

February 08, 2012

Avène Eau Thermale Emollient Balm and Cold Cream

If you've been reading the blog for any length of time, you'll know that I have a pretty fraught relationship with eczema.

In brief, I suffered with terrible childhood eczema for many years and then, as it tends to do, it disappeared. However, maybe 6 years ago it returned with a vengeance as random patches on my lower legs.

I've tried everything on the market and seen one of the country's top dermatologists in a vain attempt to rid my legs of the awful marks, painful and itchy sores.

While I have got it moderately under control. I'm always on the lookout for the next big thing and I'm open to trying anything that might just clear the marks away entirely. So, needless to say my interest was piqued when an email landed in my inbox about Avène's Eau Thermale, a range of products from the French brand which specifically address a number of dermatological conditions like atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema and burns.

February 06, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Paper and Binding

'Tis a sad, sad day in my life. The end of an era some might say.

As you may have guessed from the title of this post, I am relinquishing my hold on traditional books with proper binding and paper pages and moving, with a heavy heart, to a Kindle. 


Despite being a total nerd and loving all things techy, I could just never bring myself to get on board with e-books and e-readers. I have literally spent my life reading, or rather, inhaling, books. So much so that, any time I thought about modernising my literary pursuits, I've been overcome with such overwhelming waves of nostalgia that I haven't been able to make the great leap from page to screen. 

However, almost six months into being a daily commuter and with a number of trips on the horizon, I have manned-up and decided to save myself the added weight of carting books around with me and become an e-convert. 

But, wait, there's a catch. 

February 05, 2012

Review: Barbara Daly Concealer

I enjoy a good concealer. I feel bad moaning about the absolute hack of my skin when loads of you have actually been complimenting me on it, but I swear, it is crap (more on that soon!). So, as a pock-faced individual, a decent concealer in an essential weapon in my beauty arsenal. I've reviewed the super-popular Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer before, and MAC Studio Finish is another firm favourite of mine.

February 04, 2012

Valentine's Day Chocolate Truffles

Valentine's Day is literally just around the corner. While Kev and I don't really celebrate the day, I know a lot of you like to, whether it's with a significant other or just being your own Valentine!

These chocolate truffles cost less than a tenner to make, take less than ten minutes to whip up and look absolutely amazing! Pop them in a pretty tissue paper-lined box if you're giving them as gifts and people will think you're some kind of closet chocolatier, I guarantee it!

We have set up a new blog where we can discuss all things travel, food and personal so, click here to go to Food, Flights and Everything Nice and to see the rest of this recipe!

February 03, 2012

Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman: Prices and Stockists

It takes a lot to get me excited about a cosmetic launch these days. Even the prospect if visiting a Sephora in the near future has somewhat lost its allure.

However, yesterday, I almost lost my beauty-addled mind when Samantha Chapman of Pixiwoo fame*  announced that her revered Real Techniques brush line would now be carried by larger Boots stores including those here in Ireland!

So, I did a bit of emailing and I got my grubby little mitts on the list of stores, the launch date and the much-anticipated price-list!

Real Techniques Core Collection €30.49
Real Techniques Starter Set €30.49
Real Techniques Foundation Brush €13.71
Real Techniques Shading Brush €10.97
Real Techniques Blush Brush €13.71
Real Techniques Powder Brush €17.89
Real Techniques Kabuki Brush €16.56
Real Techniques Stippling Brush €16.56

Athlone Golden Isle SC Athlone Westmeath 
Blanchardstown Ctr Blanchardstown Dublin 
Bray Main Street Bray Wicklow 
Castlebar Hopkins Rd Castlebar Mayo  
Drogheda Laurence SC Drogheda Meath  
Dundalk The Marshes SC Dundalk Louth  
Dundrum Town Ctr Dundrum Dublin 
Galway Shop St Galway Galway 
Gorey Main Street Gorey Wexford  
Limerick Childers RP Limerick Limerick  
Limerick William St Limerick Limerick 
Maynooth Carton Park Maynooth Kildare 
Mullingar Habour Pl SC Mullingar Westmeath 
Portlaoise Town Centre Portlaoise Laois 
Tallaght 245 Square SC Tallaght Dublin  
Thurles SC Thurles Tipperary 

(UK and NI stockists here)

Real Techniques brushes are expected in larger Boots stores across the UK and Ireland from Monday 6th February! Nothing is astronomically priced though the conversion rate is, perhaps a little suspect when compared to the sterling prices on Love Makeup but, nothing to lose our minds over! I can't wait to get a few brushes for myself!

Will you be picking any brushes up? 

*Pixiwoo are THE YouTube beauty gurus. If you don't know who they are, you need to click here now!

Lanolips Lemonaid Lip Aid

I've been after a Lanolips lip treatment for a long while now. It's not readily available in Ireland and whenever I have come across (Boots, Jervis St definitely carries it!) it it's been close to €20.

I ended up getting my mitts on the brand's Lemonaid Lip Aid during my trip to London before Christmas for around £10 and have been meaning to review it ever since.

I could cut this review short right here by just saying that it's worth every bit of the hype that has circulated it in recent months in the blogosphere. It truly is a gem of a product.

February 01, 2012

Soap & Glory Cosmetics: Review and Swatches

Soap & Glory is one of those brands that has taken the beauty community by storm. Everyone has at least one product that they love and hold aloft to a “Must-Have/Holy Grail” status (Mine is Sugar Crush!). So, it was no surprise that the interwebs were all atwitter late last year with the news of a Soap & Glory cosmetics 

As of the start of 2012, the make-up additions to the brand have been readily available in all Boots stores and other Soap & Glory stockists so, chances are you’ve probably already seen the stands and snapped some products up. We got our hands on some pieces ourselves a few weeks back and have been trying them out ever since. If you haven’t yet succumbed to the bubblegum pink displays or don’t want to venture into uncharted territories and buy the products blind then never fear as I’m here to talk you through the collection with swatches and opinions galore!

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