28 February 2013

Adele’s Budget Beauty Secrets Revealed!

She’s famous for her signature 60s makeup style, and we all loved her look at the Oscars. Now Adele’s makeup artist, Michael Ashton, has revealed how we can get the singer’s trademark flicks – without breaking the bank. Michael used mostly high-end products from Giorgio Armani to recreate this gorgeous look for the Academy Awards – but the one budget product in the mix was Maybelline’s Studio Gel Eye Liner in Black. I love this liner – it’s easily as good as products twice the price, and proof positive that you don’t have to spend a fortune to look great. After all, if it’s good enough for an Oscar winning superstar…

Adele's budget beauty secret revealed as Maybelline Gel Eyeliner

Here’s the full breakdown of what she wore for the event.

FACE: Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Makeup in #4; Lancôme Teint Miracle Instant Retouch Pen in #2; Smashbox Contour Powder; Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Powder in #4
EYES: Giorgio Armani Brow Defining Pencil in #3; Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Quad in #6; Maybelline Studio Gel Eye Liner in Black; Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara

LIPS: Giorgio Armani Lip Liner in #12; Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro in #500; Sisley Lip Gloss in White Diamond

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! I also have the lowdown on what Adele was wearing on her enviably long nails - and yay! It's another bargain beauty bit!

Adele wearing Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Cafe Au Lait

Yep, her nude creme nail look was achieved with a few coats of one of my favourite polish brands - Sally Hansen's Complete Salon Manicure in the shade Cafe Au Lait.

What do you think of Adele’s trademark look? And have you tried any of the products on the list?

27 February 2013

Three Key Spring 2013 Trends: Neon, Orange, Bling

Stripes? Tick. Pastels? Tick. Monochrome, Minimalism, 60s? Tick, tick, tick. Sometimes spring trends can feel like a little bit of a snoozefest because let’s face it, we’ve all seen this stuff a million times before. This year though things feel a little bit more playful. Along with the old stalwarts – and hey, if it ain’t broke – come a crop of bright, fun trends – these are three of my faves.

Key Trends for SS13: Neon, Orange, Bling
Neon nails, orange lips, necklaces at Topshop's Press Day
ONE: The neon trend has been gathering pace for a while now and from  highlighter yellow to fluorescent pink, undoubtedly the easiest way to wear it is on your nails (or your accessories – but more on that later!).  A bright, punchy colour on your nails feels fresh and fun – my favourite is the acid green LVX Midori which I showed you here and here – or the vivid orange of Models Own Hedonist, which I’ve loved since I saw it being rocked by Karen from Lovely Girlie Bits.  

TWO: If there’s one colour that will instantly update your style for the new season, it’s orange. This is a shade that really makes an impact - it looks particularly great worn with cobalt blue or hot pink, two other key spring shades. If that’s too loud for you, tone it down with neutrals – I have an orange skirt that I wear with a grey jumper and leopard print collar.
Key Trends for SS13: Neon, Orange, Bling
How many trends can you fit into one photo?! This is the necklace I showed you here, with this nailpolish, and the lipstick is Maybelline Colour Sensational Vivid in Electric Orange.
THREE: Good news for my fellow magpies, bling is in for spring! At every press preview I attended I saw gorgeous piles of loud, colourful statement jewellery, with chunky crystal necklaces stealing the show.  Crystals with neon look particularly good and I found Topshop and River Island especially strong for accessories this season.
Will you be rocking any of these trends this spring?

26 February 2013

MAC Mineralize Eyeshadow in Smutty Green: Review, Pictures, Swatches

I was innocently passing the MAC counter in the airport last weekend when this little dazzler practically threw itself into my hands. Despite a solemn vow to himself that I would reign in my makeup addiction before my collection has entirely taken over our home, this particular purchase was entirely necessary because a) it was my birthday, b) I don’t own anything like it and c) airport shopping doesn’t count. Right? Right.

MAC Mineralize Eyeshadow in Smutty Green

One of five shades introduced last year, Smutty Green is my first Mineralize eyeshadow, and it’s spectacular. When the light catches it, the colours really come alive – it’s a blackened green with green shimmer and packs some serious sparkle. I’m wearing it here over a base of MAC’s Painterly Paint Pot, with some Rimmel Kohl Liner in Jungle Green and a dab of lighter green in the inner corner.
AC Mineralize Eyeshadow in Smutty Green FOTD and Swatches
I’ve heard mixed reports on how these shadows perform but I was plenty pleased with this one - there wasn’t as much fallout as you’d expect from a dark, glittery shade like this, it lasted well and was easy to apply and blend. If you love a good smoky eye but you can't be bothered faffing about with loads of different products, this will be perfect for you - the different colours and finishes in the one shadow combine to give lots of depth and interest to the look.  

It’s on the sheer side and the sparkle and shine faded when I blended it out, but I just kept packing on more - it’s not exactly an office shade, so I’d no hesitations in piling it on for the evening. I used it dry and from all reports it’s even better wet, so I’m happy out.

This was €16 in duty free which saved me a few bob on the regular price tag of €21.50. MAC recently released another five of these shadows as part of their Apres Chic collection – they’re limited edition, so I’ll be checking ‘em out soon. Have you tried any of these shadows? Are you a fan?

25 February 2013

Dine In Dublin Is Back: 25th February - 3rd March

Now in its eighth installment, Dine In Dublin has got to be one of my favourite events in the city. A week long celebration of food, this year brings not only a delectable selection of discounted menu offerings but also cocktail classes, olive tastings, trad music sessions and more.

Crab Canapes at The Exchange Restaurant Dublin
Crab canapes at the Dine in Dublin launch
The launch at the Westin's Exchange restaurant was a real eye opener. This week is an amazing opportunity to scoff some high-end food at bargain prices, with The Exchange's own Dine In Dublin menu being a prime example: 100% crab cakes (no potato filler here!), king scallops and sirloin steaks all feature - and the damage? Just €25 for three courses.

Sirloin steak at The Exchange Restaurant Dublin
A perfect sirloin steak from the Dine In Dublin menu at The Exchange restaurant at The Westin, Dublin
While you're there, make sure you savour a cocktail or two - bartender Deirdre Byrne has just made history by becoming the first female winner of the National Cocktail Competition. She'll be representin' at the World Championship later this year and having sampled her wares, I think we can be quietly confident.

Deirdre Byrne Winner National Cocktail Championship Ireland
Deirdre at work creating a contemporary Old Fashioned - yes, she's actually injecting rum into a hollow ice sphere. Amazeballs.
Other deals that caught my eye include the Damson Diner, the new incarnation of the Southwilliam pub, which was a longtime favourite of mine. I've been meaning to try it out and the special two course, €10 lunch menu could be just the ticket. The four course menu at Fallon and Byrne is a tad pricier at €42.50 but the menu includes braised haunch of venison or aged rib eye steak, along with a cocktail of your choice. Yes, I like cocktails. A lot.

Cocktails at the Exchange Restaurant Dublin
Another launch cocktail, to reinforce the point - Beefeater gin with strawberries and pepper
Running from today till March 3rd, Dine In Dublin is the brainchild of Dublin Town, the events arm of the Dublin City Business Improvement District, who also run the Dublin Fashion Festival, Dublin at Christmas and other fab happenings throughout the year. Check out the full list of events and offers on the website or for the inside scoop, search the twitter hashtag #DID2013.

Will you be dining in Dublin this week? And if you're reading from outside Ireland, does your city run any similar foodie events?

22 February 2013

Awesome Accessories for SS13

There is nothing I like more than an awesome accessory – it doesn’t matter if you’ve piled on or lost a few pounds, the loyal accessory will always be your pal. And a strategically draped scarf or statement necklace or six can serve to disguise a myriad of sartorial or grooming disasters - from toothpaste stains to blemishes, bad hair days and even, I hope, mismatched shoes. (This has actually happened to me - I should never get dressed in the dark.)I have a whole new crop of favourites since we last took a peek inside my dress-up box - meet my current loves!

Spring Accessory favourites
ONE I finally replaced my beloved Chanel sunglasses with these Ray-Ban Emma’s. Yes, I may have been swayed by the name, although the stylish cat eye frames were also an influencing factor. Coincidentally I first heard of these from another Emma, over at Ol’ Green Eyes, when she wrote about Smart Buy Glasses. That’s where I picked up these lovelies and you can check them out on the website here.
Ray-Ban Emma sunglasses
TWO Me and Kashmiere have been on my radar since I included one of their stunning scarves in this trend report. Mr Fluff, the darling, was clearly paying close attention because one of their 100% cashmere numbers turned up under the tree this Christmas.  Super soft and a mix of blue and grey animal print, it adds a touch of luxury to everyday outfits.
THREE No, it’s not Chanel, but it is chic, black and quilted, and will do till that classic 2.55 is in my grasp. I picked up this vintage clutch on Oasap for $26.00 and it’s my new favourite night-time bag. Understated but classy, it goes with all my dressier pieces and I love the simple silver clasp.

FOUR These Emi-jay ribbon hair ties arrived courtesy of Red Ruby Rouge, an online boutique in Northern Ireland. They may look unassuming, but have fast become my favourite hair accessory – they don’t break or strain my hair like elastic bands and they look cute (as opposed to painful and/or messy) around my wrist. Great back story, too – the brand was started by two entrepreneurial teenage friends who hand-made every piece. Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Jessica Parker and the Kardashians have all been pictured with these on their wrists or adorning their tresses – you can check ‘em out here.
FIVE This pearl studded Alice Hannah collar was a Christmas gift from my best pal that dresses up all of my numerous black dresses and tops. A quick Google tells me she’s a London based knitwear and accessory designer, and you’ll find her stuff on ASOS.
What are you loving right now?

21 February 2013

Guest Review: Inis Cologne - The Energy Of The Sea

Today we have a guest review from my lovely friend Jen, who is considering dipping her toe into the world of blogging. I think she's a natural - take it away Jen!

When it comes to perfume, I’m not a one brand girl. While I've always favoured Calvin Klein I happily switch between the likes of DKNY Apple and Marc Jacobs Lola depending on the mood. I have never had anything from Fragrances of Ireland in my perfume wardrobe though and I was excited to try Inis, a cologne inspired by the west coast of Ireland. It's the company’s best-selling perfume and not only is it not tested on animals, it helps protect and conserve our ocean friends by sponsoring the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group. Two thumbs up already.
Inis Cologne from Fragrances of Ireland

First things first, the frills! Inis is a cologne for men and women and the packaging is fairly gender neutral as a result. It really captures the inspiration behind the cologne, specifically the energy of the sea, and leads you to expect a very refreshing scent. The bottle itself is a simple frosted glass affair. I really like the beach-pebble inspired cap designed by Parisian design house Ateliers Dinand. It’s a nice little something that distinguishes the bottle but stays true to the simple, earthy image of Inis. Overall while it may not be the centrepiece of your dressing table it certainly holds it’s own. If like me you are never organised enough for atomisers, it’s also neat enough to fit into a small bag. It’s sturdy too; I gave it an enthusiastic test run in my bike bag commuting to work and cap and bottle emerged in one piece.
Onto the important bit, the actual perfume. Initially, the earthiness of the sandlewood and the spice notes stood out and then the citrussy top notes came into their own. The marine notes were actually stronger than I was expecting and you can really detect them once the perfume has settled. I did a quick scent-test with the boyfriend to confirm I wasn’t being overly influenced by expectations. He knew nothing about Inis but summed it up with one word, ‘Oceanic’. Overall, I really liked it. I think it's a perfume blend that has enough going on to make it interesting without being too busy. Over the course of the workday I did need a bit of a top up, but just the one is a perfectly acceptable lasting power I reckon!

So to sum up, I’m a fan. Inis is a beautifully presented perfume with a distinctive, refreshing scent that really does embody ‘the energy of the sea’. You can find it online for a very reasonable €24.
Have you tried this? I'd love to know what you thought! What are your go-to fragrances?

20 February 2013

Lush The Sacred Truth Fresh Face Mask Review

I love a good face mask, and Lush do some of the best around - so of course, I've made it my mission to work my way through the range. Brazened Honey currently holds the favourites position - could The Sacred Truth knock it from that hallowed spot?

Lush The Sacred Truth Fresh Face Mask
Lush describe this as a 'serious, complex mask' and from that I deduce two things. Firstly, that this is aimed at a slightly more mature audience than many of Lush's offerings - though in fairness, the 'anti-ageing' tag is also a clue! And secondly, that it targets a number of skin complaints in one.

So we have ingredients like evening primrose oil, shea butter, coconut oil and honey, which should make for a really nourishing product. There are also clays to draw out impurities, and papaya for some light exfoliating action. Ginseng, green tea and wheatgrass are included for their antioxidant properties. This all sounds great for my mature, dehydrated, oily and blemish prone skin. I'm sobbing as I type out that sentence...

Lush The Sacred Truth Fresh Face Mask

The mask itself is quite thick - though not as thick as Brazened Honey - and an avocado green. I'm not mad on the scent (I think it's the wheatgrass), but when I wash off the product, my face feels incredibly soft.  I can see a difference in my complexion after the first use. 

Sadly I make a rookie mistake with this product. The fresh face masks are preservative-free and should be stored in the fridge. I remember the fridge bit, but forget the expiry date. I get two uses from it before I forget all about it, just to discover it weeks after the best-before date. 

LUSH face masks cost from €6.90 for 75g each. This is one I will definitely revisit, but after I've worked my way through a few more in the range. Any tips for what I should try out next?

19 February 2013

Best Nail Polish Colours For SS13, From Essie, Artdeco, Butter London, Estee Lauder and Revlon!

So it's officially springtime and that means one thing: it's time to restock my cake stand! Each season I sort through my nail colours and pull out the shades I most want to wear over the coming weeks and months. I've already showed you my current favourite nail polish, but these pretties have also stolen my heart. 

Favourite Nail Colours For Spring SS13

From left to right, we have:

Essie Where's My Chauffeur - a milky turquoise creme that was part of the brand's Christmas collection last year. I've showed you it on my nails before and you can find it in Boots for €9.99. 

Artdeco #266 - this shimmering iridescent peach shade is my favourite piece from Artdeco's Butterfly Dreams collection for SS13. You don't hear too much about this brand - which can be picked up in pharmacies and selected department stores - but I really rate them for quality and choice. This is €11.05.

Favourite Nail Colours For Spring SS13

Butter London Jasper - the Sweetie Shop Collection from Butter London is a range of six pretty pastels and of the three I was given at the recent launch, this sunny yellow is my fave. You'll find this 3-free brand in Avoca, Harvey Nichols and online at Beauty Matters - the RRP is €15.

Estee Lauder Insatiable - this murky lilac shade is described as being 'deepened for a hint of rebellion', which I think is perfectly apt! Part of the SS13 collection, Pretty Naughty, it's a gorgeous, cool-toned purple/grey that will set you back €20. I think it's worth it.

Favourite Nail Colours For Spring SS13

Revlon Flushed Rose - part of Revlon's just-launched Glossfinity range, Flushed Rose (€7.49) is a bright coral pink. Like all the polishes I've shown you here today, this applies and wears really well and is such a pretty, seasonally appropriate shade. 

Which one's your pick of the bunch? And what are you loving on your nails right now?

18 February 2013

Rimmel Apocalips Luna and Nude Eclipse: Review, Pictures, Swatches

Every so often a product comes along that gets the beauty world in a right old tizzy. Revlon's Lip Butters were one such product. YSL's Le Teint Touche Eclat was another. And right now, Rimmel Apocalips are the latest craze - so of course, I picked up a couple to try.

Rimmel Apocalips Luna and Nude Eclipse
First things first - these have drawn comparisons to YSL'sGlossy Stains, but that's not comparing like with like at all. They're entirely different products - Apocalips aren't glossy, and they don't stain the lips - and nor, to be fair, do they claim to. If you are looking for a budget alternative to the YSL product, I'd point you towards the Super Stay 10h Tint Glosses from Maybelline.  

Rimmel Apocalips Nude Eclipse Swatches

So what are the Apocalips (apart from seriously brilliantly named)? They're a range of eight really pigmented liquid lipsticks that come in a gloss-alike tube, with a doe foot aplicator. I picked up Luna, a creamy apricot, and Nude Eclipse, which are the type of shades I'm gravitating to these days.  

Rimmel Apocalips Luna and Nude Eclipse

They look a little bit glossy when first applied but that soon fades and you're left with a sort of satin finish - there is a slight sheen, as opposed to shine. They're creamy and comfortable to wear although I do find 'em slightly drying on the lips - especially Luna, for some reason. I really like these but I do think some of the hype surrounds the formula, rather than the product itself -  liquid lipsticks are still not all that common, and for many, this is their first experience. But there are some great options already out there - like the brilliant Collection lip creams , which are also incredibly well priced.

Rimmel Apocalips Luna Swatches

I bought these for around the €6 mark in Superdrug - which always tends to be a few quid cheaper than Boots - but the RRP is €7.95. What do you think, have you tried 'em yet? Do you plan to?

15 February 2013

WIN! A Daniel Wellington Watch Of Your Choice - Open Worldwide!

I’m incredibly smitten with my Daniel Wellington watch and from the comments you left, it seems like lots of you are fans of the brand’s clean, elegant Scandinavian style, too. Which is why I’m so very delighted to give you the chance to win your personal favourite from the range.  Yes, you too could be just as shiny and happy as this stylish couple below.
The giveaway is open for one week and is open worldwide. Now listen up, because I don’t want to have to disqualify anyone for not meeting the entry criteria – that would make us both sad. The first rule is fairly standard – you have to be a follower of the site through either Bloglovin’ or Google Friend Connect. And you have to tell me in your blog comment which platform you’re following under. Your comment also needs to tell me which watch you’d like to win, from the Daniel Wellington site. You also have to be over 18, or have the permission of an adult if you’re not, because the winner will need to pass on their address for the prize. Apart from that, just follow the simple steps below. Good luck, everyone - I hope you're lucky!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

14 February 2013

On Reflection, Why Two Week Manicures Probably Aren't For Me

Do me a favour, will ya? The next time I start talking about getting a two or three week manicure, stop me and refer me back to this post. I mean: I love them and they look excellent and they really are convenient. Oh yeah - for the two to three weeks they are supposed to be on my nails, I am in love.

Remains of Two Week Manicure on Nails
The horror! Here I have painted over the gel and I am starting to pick it off from the bottom
And then this happens. My nails grow, or the polish chips a little, and I start to pick. I know I shouldn't, I know I am damaging my nails, and I certainly know I need to get back to the salon to get the stuff removed. Except I don't - I am too busy or disorganised or forgetful or a combination of all of the above, and I just never get around to it in time. Eventually I am shamed into a salon appointment by the sheer horror of what is happening at the ends of my fingers but by that time the damage is done. 

Short and Damaged Nails
Can you ever forgive me, my poor little nails? Will you ever recover?

The only thing for it is to cut off all my nails - which by this stage are damaged and peeling and pathetic, poor little things - and start again. Oh - and cover up the mess with a bright-as-bedamned shade of neon green, which is the only good thing about this sorry little tale. 

LVX Midori Nail Polish Swatches

Do they work for you or are you as disorganised as I am?

13 February 2013

St Valentine's Treats and Suggestions

Did you know that St Valentine’s remains are actually here in Dublin? I’ve visited them myself in Whitefriar’s Church on Aungier Street. On reflection, probably not the most romantic Valentine’s Day excursion I’ve ever had, but a lot more interesting than the norm. The day divides opinions and my own sentiments have changed throughout the years. These days I see it as an opportunity for a little bit of indulgence – whether that means self-gifted treats, or a wee gift from someone else. Here are a few ideas to get you started - if you fancy dropping a few hints, do email on the link!

Valentine's Day Gift Guide

La Bougie launched on Valentine’s Day in 2011, so the date will always have special meaning for what’s fast becoming my favourite luxury candle brand. (Ssh, don’t tell Diptyque!). This year they’ve marked the occasion with the launch of the aromatic Dark Rose & Myrtle candle, inspired by sultry Mediterranean evenings. As with all their products, this comes in a hand carved glass jar, wrapped in scented tissue paper and tied with ivory grosgrain ribbon. Divine – and for what you get, quite reasonably priced too at €29.95 for 55 hrs burn time. You can buy from their website and yes, they ship internationally.  

Peeping out from behind the candle in the photo above is the prettiest bra I own – a vintage inspired balconnet style, with all-over embroidery and lace. It came courtesy of a new Irish site, the Dublin Lingerie Company (with whom I will very shortly be running a giveaway, so you can experience their gorgeous products and great customer service for yourself).  What I like about the site is the wide range of sizes and shapes that they offer, to suit all figures and budgets.  I chose the Elsa set by Panache, which comes in vintage ivory or black – it’s comfortable as well as gorgeous, and you can check it out here.

Valentine's Day Gift Guide

Mr Fluff is a runner and suffers from aching muscles on a regular basis, so I love this Arnicare bath & massage balm from Nelson’s. It’s just €9.99 for a dual-purpose product which can surprise him with a massage or hot bath after his evening run (and there's always the possibility of a return on the favour sometime!). That adorable Sweet Tree is something else I know he’ll appreciate – pick it up in Avoca for €12.95, or check out Marks and Spencer’s fab range of heart-shaped chocolates and sweets.

These last two items will score you no brownie points with your loved one – quite the opposite – but they could be handy if you have a hot date lined up tomorrow night. The Wine Wipes and Kissing Elixir arrived from Irish beauty emporium Mise Beauty – the wipes (€6.08) are saturated with all-natural hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to remove red wine staining from lips and teeth, and come with a handy mirror in the lid. The Kissing Elixir (€9.76) is the prettiest packaged breath spray I’ve encountered and the sugar-free, natural vanilla mint flavour is remarkably tasty. In case of emergency, both now live somewhere at the bottom of my handbag!
What do you make of St. Valentine’s Day? Love it or loathe it? And do you do anything to mark the occasion?

12 February 2013

I've Been Shopping! Latest Accessory and Budget Beauty Buys

The last time I went shopping was when I picked up a few bits and pieces on holiday but I had a wee Superdrug splurge recently and restocked some of my favourite budget beauty buys. And I couldn't resist showing you this new necklace which I snapped up in River Island recently after seeing it on their lovely PR at the SS13 press day.

Latest Accessory and Budget Beauty Buys

The brand will be sending some really lovely accessories our way for spring and summer but I was delighted to learn this piece was in store now. The combination of the cord chain with the crystals is both relaxed yet blingy and I've been loving this with simple t-shirts, my sloppy grey jumper or to dress up one of my many plain black dresses. I've spotted cord jewellery in a few SS13 collections now so it could be a micro trend in the making - this one was €24.

River Island Bungee Cord and Crystal Necklace
Makeup wise, with their punchy colours, fruity scents and longwear formula, I really love these Maybelline 14 hr Super Stay lipsticks (€10.75). While they don't last the 14 hours that they claim to, they're still one of the best longwear lipsticks I've tried. The rose gold cream shadow is the latest addition to the brand's Colour Tattoo line and is really pretty alone or under a powder. These are €7.99 and I have all of them now except the silver and gold - it's inevitable that I'll pick those up at some stage, too. (I've binned the purple one though - the consistency was nowhere near as good as with the other shades.)

Maybelline L'Oreal and Rimmel Swatches

Felt tip pen eyeliners are my favourite and this L'Oreal Super Liner Perfect Slim is one of the best - I also really rate the NARS version but at €10.49, the L'Oreal version's about half the price. It doesn't seem to dry out as quickly as the Bourjois pen, which is also a good 'un.

Maybelline Super Stay 14 Hr Lipstick in Non Stop Red FOTD Swatches

My horrendous dark circles prompted the repurchase of one of my favourite light reflecting concealers - Rimmel's Match Perfection. I love this one for under my eyes, and the Collection Lasting Perfection product for any blemishes - they're excellent products, and both come in at under a tenner.
Have you tried any of these products and what did you think? And have you picked up anything nice for yourself of late?

11 February 2013

Estee Lauder Pure Color Sheer Matte Lipstick in Naked and Rock Candy

I met up with Estee Lauder recently to have a chat about some of the loveliness that's coming down the line. A few products were on the table when I arrived and from the moment I set eyes on them, the new Sheer Matte Lipsticks held me utterly and completely in their thrall!

Estee Lauder Pure Color Sheer Matte Lipstick in Naked and Rock Candy
With their fresh, pretty colours, creamy matte formula and slim twist-up tubes, these lippies have a stylish, modern kinda vibe. There are two pinks (Rebel and Demure) and two corals/peaches (Naked and Rock Candy) and I was delighted to be sent off home with the latter. 

Estee Lauder Pure Color Sheer Matte Lipstick Naked Swatch
Lovers of full coverage will be delighted to hear that these aren't sheer in the slightest. They're highly pigmented and offer a lovely, longlasting matte effect with medium to full coverage - but they feel lighter on the lips than your traditional matte lipstick. As with most matte products I'd advise you prep with balm and your favourite lip scrub before you wear these products. 

Estee Lauder Pure Color Sheer Matte Rock Candy Swatch
As for the colours - well, they're absolutely gorgeous. I can't decide if the paler peachy Naked or the juicier, more vibrant tangerine coral of Rock Candy is my favourite - it really depends on my mood - but I know I'll be getting loads of wear from both in the coming months. 

Estee Lauder Pure Color Sheer Matte Naked and Rock Candy
Part of Estee Lauder's Pretty Naughty collection for SS13, these are on counter now priced at €24. What do you think, and do you have a favourite? 

08 February 2013

LVX Midori Nail Polish: Spring Has Sprung!

As soon as images from the new LVX nail polish line popped into my inbox, I knew this one would be mine. This American luxury nail brand is the latest addition to one of my favourite Irish online beauty shops, cloud10beauty.com

LVX Midori Nail Polish

Inspired by the latest fashion trends, LVX promises high quality, cruelty-free formulas that are longwearing, chip resistant and reach full coverage in just one coat. 

LVX Midori Nail Polish

Believe it or not, Midori is actually part of their AW12 collection but obviously its neon bright hues are also just perfect for spring. The name may conjure up sickly sweet memories of Midori with lemonade -  the very image of sophistication to the 16-year-old-me but in reality just a giant flashing I-AM-UNDERAGE alert – but the shade itself makes up for the flashbacks

LVX Midori Nail Polish

I’m still sporting the remnants of this gel manicure which is why you’re not seeing it on my fingers, but I can’t wait to sport this bright and cheerful neon green. And because it’s chemical free – there’s no Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, DBP, Toluene or Camphor here, unlike many nail colours – it should be kinder to my raggedy little nails, as well.

LVX Midori Nail Polish

LVX is €12.99 per bottle, and you’ll find the full range online here. What do you think, are you feeling the neon trend this season?

07 February 2013

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Radiance Boosting Express Facial

One of my dreams is to visit Elizabeth Arden’s iconic Red Door salon in New York. I’ll get there one day, but in the meantime, I’ve had a little taster of what I might expect – thanks to the brand’s new on counter treatment service.
Elizabeth Arden On Counter Treatment Service at Clerys Dublin
With more than 15 years experience, London based skin expert and celebrity facialist, Debbie Thomas, was an inspired choice to design the new treatments. She designed the Radiance Boosting Express 30 minute facial featuring Elizabeth Arden's new Prevage Anti-Aging and Intensive Repair serum, and I tried it out at Clerys one busy Thursday evening.
Elizabeth Arden Prevage Serum
Despite the throng of late night shoppers I soon forgot I was smack bang in the middle of a department store. The treatment features lots and lots of lovely holistic massage techniques, which melted away the strains of the day and soon had me feeling blissed out and utterly relaxed. The main products used are from the Prevage anti-aging treatment range, along with the Ceramide cleanser and toner and of course a touch of Eight Hour Cream. I emerged fresh faced, glowy and with energy to burn –I felt and looked much better than I did when I first walked in.
Elizabeth Arden skincare
The Express 30-minute facial costs just €10, which is redeemable against products. Could this be the biggest bargain in beauty?!
What do you think, would you try out an on-counter treatment?

06 February 2013

Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint For Eyes: Bountiful Beige and Portly Plum Review, Pics, Swatches

Launching on February 15th, Clinique’s Chubby Sticks for Eyes look set to be every bit as wildly popular as their lip products. They’re incredibly appealing, with their twist-up chunky crayon shape and pretty colours, and there are 12 to choose from, with a good selection of neutrals, pastels and deeper, moodier hues. I was given Portly Plum and Bountiful Beige to play with ahead of the launch date. 

Clinique Chubby Sticks Eyes

Both shades give a soft, semi-sheer wash of colour all over the lid – don’t be worrying about precision here, just draw it on and smudge it out with your finger. Simples! With their soft and creamy textures, they glide on and blend like a dream. The shades are designed to be worn alone or together, and you can layer ‘em up for a more dramatic finish if you’d like. 

Clinique Chubby Sticks Eyes Bountiful Beige and Portly Plum

Best of all, they’re absolutely foolproof - they’ve really streamlined my routine, saving me precious minutes in the morning. They’re perfect for on-the-go or when you’re in a rush, and they last without creasing throughout the working day. 

Swatches Clinique Chubby Sticks Eyes
Pictured with one thin layer of each, blended out with fingers
Pricewise, they’re not the cheapest at €22 but, like the Chubby lips, I’d say they’ll last forever. Whopping Willow – a gorgeous khaki shade – and Ample Amber are the next two on my list. What do you think, will you be checking them out?

05 February 2013

Hair Products That Didn't Work Out For Me

I really liked both of these products when I started to use them but several weeks in, I'm afraid I'm no longer so impressed. At my most recent visit to the hairdressers, the lovely Niamh rubbed the ends of my hair together and wondered was I remembering to use hair oil after every wash. And I was - it's one of the few things I'm really conscientious about.
Moroccanoil and L'Oreal Elvive Triple Revive Hair Mask
With long, thick and naturally dry hair, bleaching the feck out of the ends was bound to take its toll - so hair oils and masks are part of my regular routine. I've tried all sorts and for the main, find they mostly do the trick in restoring some much needed nourishment to my frazzled locks. But my current combination of L'Oreal Elvive Triple Resist and Moroccanoil just ain't doing the trick in the moisturising stakes. 
While these feel nice and smell nice and all that jazz, the sad fact is that my hair feels dry and lacklustre after several weeks constant use. Both products are being retired, and replaced with some L'Occitane goodies and a Kiehl's oil-in-cream product I have on emergency standby. Watch this space.

Has anything let you down lately?