What I’ve Been Loving – February

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Although it was a short month, February was a good ‘un for beauty! Nearly all of the products are new bits I’ve gotten in the past few weeks, with one oldie and a piece of jewellery thrown in. Here’s to March and hoping every month features that many nice products!

The end of this month marked the launch of Benefit’s newest product, Roller Lash. I, along with the rest of the beauty world, picked up a copy of Elle to try out the sample of Roller Lash that came with it. I spoke about Maybelline Lash Sensational last week and, while I love it, Roller Lash is so much easier to remove. It’s got curl, volume and length all rolled into one (geddit?).

I’d heard Vivianna from Vivianna Does Makeup talk about Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel one too many times, so I had to try it for myself. Contrary to the name, the product itself isn’t really a gel. It’s a smooth, gel-like formula that turns to oil when you heat it with your hands and rub it on your face. It’s really gentle and melts makeup, including mascara, away. It is a more expensive cleanser, and I’m not sure if it’s worth the price tag, but it’s nice to have a bit of luxury before going to bed.

I’ve been trying out a few products from w7 this month, and have fallen in love with the Lightly Toasted palette. It’s nearly an exact dupe for the original Urban Decay Naked palette – the colours and the quality are basically identical. If you’re looking for a bargain buy, this is the one.

February also brought the launch of the Max Factor Creme Puff Blush. Blush has become an essential part of my everyday makeup routine since I picked these up. The shade pictured is Lovely Pink, which is my favourite of the three I got. They’re all so easy to apply and build up, and add a lovely glow to the face.

As if I haven’t spoken about my Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita Palette enough, I had to mention it in my February favourites. It’s been my go-to palette all month for dinner, nights out and when I just want to feel good. Who knew that one little palette could hold so much luxury? The colours are gorgeous and super easy to blend and work with – I’ve a feeling this won’t be my last palette purchase from Charlotte Tilbury.

An oldie but a goodie, I rediscovered the Bobbi Brown BB Cream this month. It’s taken over NARS Sheer Glow as my everyday base, and I just can’t get enough of it. It gives really good coverage, even with my skin acting up this month, and looks better as you blend it in. If you’re looking for a new base, for summer or for winter, I can’t recommend this one enough.

Another much-coveted purchase, I finally got my hands on The Balm Mary Lou Manizer. I can’t get over how finely milled the product is, it blends into the skin so easily and doesn’t just sit on top. It gives such a pretty, shimmery glow – perfect on top of the cheekbones and under the brow bone.

It’s not at all beauty related, but the Pandora bracelet George got me for Valentine’s Day has been my ultimate favourite of the month. I’ve never had one before and I’m so in love with the delicate infinity symbol charm. I can’t wait to start stacking it up with charms – that’s my birthday and Christmas presents sorted for the next 5 years! :’)

Although February officially marks the beginning of the spring season, March is usually the month where we see a little more sun and the flowers start to bloom. Saying that, we’ve had snow in Ireland the past two days! So, I’m filling the house with tulips and spring flowers – at least I can pretend the winter weather is nearly over.

I hope that everyone had a great February! Let me know your favourites in the comments below!

Payday Wishin’ – February

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If only every month was as short as February, am I right?! It seems that payday was only last week – but I’m not complaining! Although I’m supposed to be saving for a holiday, I couldn’t help but add a few things to my payday wish list this month. As usual, it’s all clothes and makeup. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do…

Soap and Glory Archery Brow Pencil - My Anastasia Brow Wiz is merely just a tiny stub at this stage, and I need a replacement ASAP. The Archery Brow Pencil is supposed to be an exact dupe for it, and is only a fraction of the price. Hopefully I can get my hands on one of these in Boots, the Soap and Glory stand is always nearly empty!

Mango Trench Coat - I’ve gotten more than my money’s worth of wear out of my ASOS camel coat, and am on the hunt for a replacement. I spotted this gorgeous trench in Mango and fell in love straight away. The length and shape is perfect, and it’s reasonable enough at just under €80. A classic piece that will never go out of style, I think this is one investment that I have to make.

Benefit Roller Lash  - The beauty world went crazy when a sample of Roller Lash came with this month’s Elle magazine, and I was totally blown away. It’s super easy to remove and gives amazing volume, length and curl. Benefit, you’ve done it again.

Office Boots - I’m a Chelsea boots girl through and through, and while my New Look pair of tan boots lasted me well, they’re literally on their last legs. Another investment piece, I know I’ll get the wear out of this Office pair, and they’ll last longer than just a few months.

Inglot HD Foundation  – I think it’s impossible to write a Payday Wishin’ post without mentioning a foundation. I’ve never tried a HD foundation before, and am starting to think that my MAC Studio Fix isn’t doing any favours for my skin anymore, so I think it’s time to move on.

Topshop Ripped Jeans - Can you see a spring theme emerging here with these clothes?! I love this ripped pair of Jamie jeans, although I’d recommend going down a size if you’re buying them because they stretch quite a bit. (Three pairs of Jamies later, I learned the hard way)

Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer - Just like my foundation, I don’t think my current concealer suits my skin anymore. This new release from Urban Decay claims to be full coverage and weightless, perfect for blemishes and under the eyes. That’s one description that I can’t pass up on, and for €22 it’s one of the more affordable concealers on the high-end market.

What’s on your payday wishlist?

My Makeup Table Tour

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After spending Saturday morning cleaning my dressing table, I thought I’d take advantage of it being really organised and tidy and snap a few photos to share here. My setup isn’t exactly how I’d like it to be (I’ve to keep the other 50% of my makeup in storage on my shelves and in boxes) but I’m pretty happy with it for the minute.

To the left I’ve my makeup brushes stored in flower pots that I picked up in Evolution (which is gone now </3) in the GPO Arcade. I keep all of my everyday brushes in the front one, consisting mostly of Real Techniques, and all of the others further to the back, which makes it pretty easy to find what I’m looking for.

My No7 mirror from Boots is so, so handy as it lights up and has a zoom mirror on the other side. They always have them on special offer for half price, so if you’re thinking of picking one up wait until they go on offer as they’re pretty expensive full price.

Next are my Muji drawers which I picked up in London. Muji is so much more expensive here in Dublin, I got these for around £10 and I think they’re about €22 here! Home Store & More and Amazon sell really similar models, so have a look there if you’re interested. I got my lipstick holders in Home Store & More and keep all of my most used lip products here. I keep all of my most-used makeup products in these drawers so they’re easy to access, and keep everything else in a less visually-appealing box!

On top of the drawers I’ve my bulkier base products, foundations, primers, my current nail varnish, Hoola bronzer, Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade and my beloved Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita Palette.

In the top drawer I’ve blushers, bronzers, powders, a highlighter, a primer and some concealers. In the bottom drawer I’ve my most-used eyeshadows, mascaras, an eyebrow pencil, lip liners and MAC Soft and Gentle which doesn’t fit anywhere else.

My dresser has a pull out drawer where I keep everything else that I use regularly. I’ve my Naked palettes, a few MAC palettes underneath, my Crownbrush cream contour palette, other bronzers/blushes/highlighters, some w7 and Makeup Revolution products that I’m trying out, and God knows what else! I keep everything I can fit in here that’s just too nice to demote to the less-used box.

To the right I’ve my new skincare additions – Pestle & Mortar Hyaluronic Acid, Laura Mercier Hydrating Primer and Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Facial. I keep my Charlotte Tilbury makeup bag to the side because I love how pretty it looks, and it reminds me to use it!

I’ve two handheld mirrors which I never use but look really pretty, and my Charlotte Tilbury eyelash curlers floating around on the desk.

If you were to see this desk after I’ve gotten ready for a night out, you’d think I’d been ransacked!

That’s my current makeup storage, and while I’ve a trip to Ikea planned in the near future, this is how it is for now!

Let me know your thoughts/ questions in the comments below!

 

The Breakout Breakdown

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Just when I thought I’d left all major breakouts behind me, bam - my skin explodes. With blemishes, that is. How could it be?! I thought I finally had this skincare thing down. My skin is by no means flawless, but I can deal with the odd blemish here or there. What happened two weeks ago brought me back to being 13 years old, with spots all over my forehead. I haven’t had a breakout like this in years, so I knew there must have been something that triggered it.

I came up with a list of potential suspects, and have monitored my skin in accordance with them over the past 10 days. While I haven’t yet pinpointed the culprit, I thought I’d share with you the factors I came up with. If your skin is breaking out, maybe have a look at these points and see if any of them could be connected to it. One by one, we can eliminate them to find the cause, and hopefully never have to deal with the reaction again!

1. High-sugar foods - We all know that refined sugar is hardly a superfood for the skin. It’s quite the opposite, in fact. I recently started adding granola to my porridge in the mornings, which just so happened to be around the time my skin broke out. I was also indulging in way too many cookies and sugar-ridden foods, which I know for a fact can trigger my skin, although it’s never been this bad. If you’ve eaten one too many Jaffa Cakes recently, that could be the reason behind your breakout. Stock up on fruits, veggies and natural foods. What you put into your body is what shows on your skin!

2. New skincare products - I don’t want to admit it, but there’s a chance one of my new skincare products could be breaking my skin out. They’re all high-end products, so I didn’t think there would be a problem, but since I incorporated them into routine my skin hasn’t been the same. Rather than introducing loads of new products at once, try to introduce them one at a time so it’s easier to pinpoint if one is making your skin react.

3. Makeup brushes - It’s no secret that dirty makeup brushes can cause spots and blemishes, so try to wash your brushes once a week if you wear makeup everyday. Make an extra effort to wash them if your skin has been breaking out, as you could just be making the breakout worse.

4. Stress - Worrier? Me? Never *cough cough*. Worry and stress can cause havoc on our skin, and worrying about it just makes it worse. It’s easier said than done, but next time you find yourself stressing out, try to take deep breaths and relax. A cup of tea usually helps me to calm down, especially green tea as it has plenty of benefits for the skin and body.

5. Your pillowcase - Just like your makeup brushes, pillow cases have to be washed and changed regularly. When you think about it, we spend 7-10 hours with our face on a pillowcase per day. Imagine the results that can have if your case is covered in left-over makeup, tan and grime. Having a pillow case and makeup brush-washing day is a great routine to get into, your skin will thank you for it!

6. Dairy - I didn’t know the effects that dairy could have on the skin until I started watching Melanie Murphy’s Youtube videos. Simple things like milk and cheese can cause the skin to break out, so keep an eye on how your skin reacts when you eat these products. I’ve substituted regular milk for almond milk, and when I swapped back to regular milk for a few days (dammit Lidl for not selling almond milk!) I could see the effects on my skin straight away. Be conscious of what you consume and you could notice a pattern in your breakouts.

I’m no skincare expert but these few points have really helped me to deal with and monitor my breakout. I’m still trying to clear it completely, but it’s much better than it was two weeks ago. I hope these might help you if your skin has been acting the maggot recently, and please let me know in the comments any tips or suggestions you might have!

*Major cheese* – Remember, your skin doesn’t define how beautiful you are, who you are on the inside is what counts!

Recap the Week – Pancakes & Planning

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Not gonna lie, Pancake Tuesday totally dominated this week. In fact, this week practically was Pancake Week. I started the pancake feast on Monday night and carried it on right through the week, trying to fit in every topping combination possible. When most of my major meals were starting to revolve around Nutella and berries, I knew it was time to move on. Until next year, Pancake Tuesday.

One of last month’s payday purchases finally arrived on Monday – my tripod. I’ve been thinking of venturing into the world of YouTube for quite a while, so once I figure out how to get the settings I want on the camera, hopefully I’ll start uploading videos. Watch this space. With this month’s payday just 5 days away, my wishlist has started to grow in full swing. Expect a full post during the week.

Since starting the Sex and the City series a few weeks ago, I haven’t been able to put the box-set down. I’m totally obsessed with Carrie and the girls, and am fully immersed in the Carrie-and-Big romance story. Love him or hate him, I can’t decide, but since seeing the first movie where he builds her that wardrobe, I think I love him.

After spending a dreary day in the courts for a college assignment and waiting in the rain for 25 minutes for a bus, on Thursday I received a really exciting invitation to a blogger event. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to receive an e-mail before, and smiled all the way home as if it was the sunniest day in June.

Having a Saturday off when you work in retail isn’t a common occurrence, so whenever I’ve the day off I always try to make the most of it. I re-organised all of my everyday makeup (a full post will be up this week), went for lunch with my dad and had dinner with the boy. A wild Saturday it was not, but it was just what I needed.

I hope everyone had a great week, let me know in the comments if you got up to anything exciting!

False Lashes in a Tube

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I’ve tried many mascaras that claim to give a false-lash effect, but none of them had actually stood up to the claim until I tried Maybelline Lash Sensational.

Maybelline is my go-to brand for mascaras – the Rocket and Colossal being two of my favourites. So as soon as I heard about the new Lash Sensational mascara, I snatched it up straight away.

At first the formula was very wet and hard to work with, so I opened the mascara once every few days for about a week to let some air in and to make the formula a bit thicker. Once I did that, I couldn’t stop using it.

Believe it or not, I actually thought “This mascara makes my lashes look too long!” But hey, I’m not complaining. I love the plastic brush as it gets right to the root and grabs every single lash. It’s not spiky or sharp, so it doesn’t stab you in the eye like some plastic bristles can. I always curl my lashes before mascara as they’ve no curl in them naturally, but this gives them an instant boost of volume.

It does everything you want a good mascara to do – lift, curl, separate and lengthen. It doesn’t flake or smudge, even on the bottom lashes.

I didn’t buy the waterproof formula but still it can be pretty tough to remove. Just a micellar water won’t do the job, so it’s handy to have an oil-based eye makeup remover for this one.

Since I started using it I’ve felt no need to use false lashes for nights out, dinner or usual false-lash-wearing occasions – it’s that good. Whether you’re a mascara lover or not, you need this one in your collection, trust me!

New In: Max Factor Creme Puff Blush

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Never before has a blush launch made me run to the counters of Boots quicker than you can say “shopaholic”. As soon as I heard about the new Max Factor Creme Puff Blush, I knew I had to get my hands on some shades. I could count the number of blushes I had in my collection on one hand, which says volumes for how important blush was in my makeup routine (read: not that important).

The marble effect, with tiny bits of shimmer make this the most aesthetically pleasing blush I’ve seen before, for the most financially pleasing price. I got these three shades on a 3for2 deal in Boots for around €22, which is a fraction of the price of their MAC Mineralise and Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush counterparts.

From clockwise, I got Seductive Pink, Nude Mauve and Lovely Pink. All of the colours are really wearable, and give a gorgeous flush to the cheeks. The powder to cream formula blends into the skin well and the shimmer is very subtle and gives a beautiful glow. The colour is really buildable too, so you’ve control over how strong you want the result to be.

I must be the only beauty blogger who finds applying blush tricky, but I do. I’m still getting the hang of it, but I use the Real Techniques Blush Brush and swirl the product on the apples of my cheeks upwards. I find that applying your setting powder before applying this is best as it means you’re not concealing the colour or shimmer.

With these three shades in my collection, my blush stash is pretty set for a while – although I may just have to pick up a few more from the range!

5 Things That’ll Make You Smile Today

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It’s no secret that Monday is the most disliked day of the week for the majority of people, but I love it because it’s a new start and a chance to get the week on track. If you’re struggling with the Monday blues, here’s 5 reasons to put a smile on your dial. I’ll be smiling like a lunatic by the time I finish writing this!

1. It’s Pancake Tuesday tomorrow – Whether Pancake Tuesday is something you celebrate with your religion or not, it’s the one day of the year where eating pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner is perfectly acceptable. I may or may not be able to wait until tomorrow morning, so chances are I’ll be starting my pancake feast tonight! My favourite topping is butter and sugar, what’s yours?

2. Gorgeous flowers are in full bloom - Plus, huge bouquets of roses, tulips and lilies are half price after not being sold on Valentine’s day. Win win, right?

3. Spring is officially on the way - (Apologies to those on the other side of the globe!) I’m more than happy to say goodbye to the sun going in at 4pm and not coming out until 8am. Long evenings, early mornings – what’s not to love?! Well, maybe the early morning part, but it’s definitely better than getting ready for work in the dark and rain!

4.  Toast the dog of Instagram – ’nuff said

5.  Tea, your favourite mug & a magazine – Even on the worst of days, a cup of tea in your most ridiculous mug with a good book/magazine/YouTube video/music in front of you is almost guaranteed to make you smile. Light a candle and some fairy lights and you’ll be happier than Spongebob.

Sometimes it can be hard to see it, but there’s always something to smile about! What makes you smile?

Recap The Week – Food, Fan-Girling & Flowers

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You know those weeks when what happened five days ago feels like it happened a month ago? This was one of those weeks. My memory isn’t the best, so I always write down what happens during the week so I can look back when I’m writing these posts, but today I really couldn’t believe that some of the things that happened were this week!

I’m pretty much back into the swing of college, and on Thursday found out that I passed all of last semesters modules. No repeats for me in August – yay!

Before college on Tuesday I headed into town to pick up my boyfriend’s Valentine’s Day presents, and bumped into the gorgeous Melanie Murphy! I physically couldn’t believe it when I saw her walking into The Body Shop, it was such a fan girl moment. I decided I could either keep walking and regret not going over to her, or bite the bullet and go and say hello – so I bit the bullet and ran over to her. Melanie is one of my favourite YouTubers and such a beautiful person inside and out, I was so glad to get to meet her in person and talk to her. I was literally buzzing afterwards, and rang my friend straight away to tell her. I’m glad I didn’t let my nerves get the best of me because it was one of the highlights of my week.

After a few weeks of intense over-indulgence, I decided to get back on track with eating healthily and exercising. My skin broke out worse than ever before at the start of the week and it was such a knock to my confidence, so I knew it was time to swap the Double Deckers for some fruit and veg! Pog on Bachelor’s Walk off O’Connell Street is a really nice health food cafe, so I picked up a smoothie and Quest bar for lunch in there one of the days, and made a few smoothies myself during the week. I used one serving of Greek yogurt, a handful of blueberries, a handful of frozen mixed berries and a banana – so easy and tasty. I also switched up my usual ham and cheese/tuna and sweetcorn sandwich for chicken, spinach, tomato and feta on wholemeal bread and I don’t think I’ll ever go back. It was almost gourmet, if I may say so myself! I hit the gym for the first time in a few weeks, and although my abs were in pain for a few days after, it was totally worth it.

Of course, it was Valentine’s Day yesterday, so I went to George’s house after work and we headed out for dinner and some drinks. We went to Pacino’s on Suffolk Street, which is a gorgeous little Italian restaurant. The atmosphere, food and staff are incredible – I got given a rose by one of the waiters! – I think it’s my all time favourite restaurant. I love Valentine’s Day so much, I’m so glad I get to spend it with such an amazing person.

Throw in heading out with the girls on Thursday night, college and work and it was a pretty hectic week!

How did your week go? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear!

 

The No-Bump Bobbin

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We all know the struggle of having to tie up perfectly straightened or curled hair after a long day, only for your bobbin to leave a huge dent in your hair and ruin all of your hard work. It’s a pet peeve that I’ve always had – ain’t nobody got time for straightening their hair twice!

When I saw the Invisibobble on feelunique.com for just over €5, I had to pick it up. It claims not to leave a trace of a bobbin mark, and that it doesn’t damage hair. I tried and tested it a few times overnight and during the day with a low ponytail and found that no matter how long I left it in my hair, it didn’t leave a mark. Result.

The bobbin did stretch after a while, as you can see above, but it still does the job. However, when I slept overnight with a regular ponytail, there was a slight bump the next day. For a few hours during the day or going to the gym, I think you could get away with a high pony and no mark, but overnight was a bit too long. Nevertheless, I’ll just tie my hair in a low ponytail when I’m going to sleep in the future, it isn’t that much of a problem.

It doesn’t pull or tug at the hair when you take it out because of it’s design, and it looks pretty cool because it’s clear.

If you’re like me and you tie your hair up as soon as you come in the door, I’d really recommend giving this a try. It’ll mean you won’t have to spend as much time on your hair in the mornings, letting you press that snooze button just a few more times…