Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Beauty - Beauty Buys I Regret/Empties

The idea for this blogpost (which I wrote up while I was still at home in Ireland BTW hence why all the prices for the products are in euros rather than pounds), was originally meant to be on empties (a beauty bloggers way of saying empty products you have finished) but as I've reviewed nearly all of the products that I have finished, it ended up being a list of beauty products I regret buying (with the exception of the Garnier make up remover, which is my only finished product).

Before I start, I should mention that I personally did not like these products. That does not mean that you, or anyone else will not like them either, it's my own personal opinion. I don't mean to be all negative either (I'm all about the positive vibes, people) but I am going to give my honest opinion on these products, as every blogger should about products.

Garnier Simply Essentials Soothing 2-in-1 Make Up Remover
OK so first up on my list is this Garnier make-up remover. I must be honest, I actually bought this product by mistake, I thought it was toner, because it's in a plastic bottle similar to many other toners, and I was in a bit of a rush in Boots at the time. Nowadays I can't live without my Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water (see review of that product HERE) but at the time I purchased this I had never used liquid cleansing products before; it was always make up wipes to remove my makeup at the end of the day or night. As I had bought it, I decided anyways I may as well use it. As you can see from the photo, this product contains mostly clear liquid with this blue liquid sitting on the top. The blue liquid is a make-up removing oil and the clear liquid is a cleansing water. To prevent the mixture feeling greasy on your face, you must shake the bottle fairly well to combine the two things, soak a cotton wool pad and apply it to your face. It didn't sting my sensitive skin at all (yay!) and didn't sting around the eye area also (another big yay!).
Even though I shook the bottle until I was near blue in the face, I still thought this make up remover felt greasy on my face. When it dries on your face, it does feel rather refreshing but I still felt the residue of greasiness on my face and felt like the oil was clogging my pores! I persevered with it though, and managed to use it up and despite my concerns, it didn't cause any breakouts, so this is one of my emptied products, not a beauty buy I regret (despite the fact that all the shaking to do to mix the two liquids is a bit annoying). I bought  Garnier Micellar Water shortly after I finished this product, and it was the start of a beautiful relationship, so I didn't repurchase this product. But I think it's a decent enough product, not quite as good as the Garnier Micellar Water (will any product ever be as good as that Micellar water?), but still a good enough buy. I got it in Boots for €3.95.

Naturoil Argan Oil Hair Mask.
I've already done a haircare blogpost (see HERE), in which I mentioned Argan Oil. This oil from Morocco is famed for it's moistening properties and it's extract is added in everything from shampoos to hair masks. Shortly after trying out the oil I decided to try out the mask to see how that was. It is in a fairly basic brown plastic packaging and contains 220ml of this white product.
It smelled beautiful, so I was excited to use it. I applied it to my damp hair after shampooing and rinsing. However, as I was applying it, it felt like I was rubbing lard through it. Yuk! My hair felt immediately greasy after applying, and my hair is not greasy usually, definitely more dry and damaged, not greasy. I wrapped my hair up in a warm towel to see would it help but no - still greasy! I woke up the next morning and had to wash it again before I left  my house - it was like I had dipped my head in the deep fat fryer! It only cost €2 in the 2 Euro Shop (duh!) so I didn't feel too bad about it being such a bad product, but I think it goes without saying that I will definitely not be repurchasing! In terms of beauty buys I regret this is probably my number one regret, but like I said I won't be crying too much about it 'cause it was only cheap.

Essence XXXL Longlasting Lipgloss
I was on the hunt for a longlasting lipgloss when I came across this Essence one. It's marketed as lipgloss on the packaging as you can see. However, I applied it to my lips and it felt more like a balm, so I looked at the side of the product in which it said it was lipcream (false advertising much?). Aside from the fact it has a smell good enough to eat (like cotton candy!), I really don't have too much good to say about this product. It applies very strangely to the lips, and makes them look dry and cakey, and I really didn't like the feel of it on my lips. Like the Argan oil hair mask, it only set me back €2.29 so I really won't be complaining too much about it but I definitely won't be repurchasing!

Catrice Prime and Fine Eyeshadow Base
As a beauty blogger, I hear so much about primers not only when it comes to applying foundation but also when applying your eyeshadows to make both make up products go the distance, so I had to pick one out, if only to try it out. I picked up this Catrice one as it was inexpensive enough retailing at just €4.49, which is a steal compared to some of the more high end brands. As you can see from the photo, this product comes in a square-shaped, plastic bottle. The formula as you can see is neutral looking, has no particular colour to it. It smells quite neutral too, with no real smell to it. I applied it to my eyelid up to my browbone and applied it on the lower lashline. A really teeny tiny bit of this product got into my eye while I was applying it to my lower lashline and oh my - it stung the absolute bejaysus out of me! It just caused my eye to become so watery. When I tried it out another day, I felt it made the lower lashline area look dry and cakey. I didn't feel like it intensfied any eyeshadow colour at all. I'm not even sure did it improve the lasting power of my eyeshadows - my Catrice eyeshadows stayed put anyways day and night anyways. It pains me to say this as most of Catrice products I adore so much and Catrice is constantly a brand I keep repurchasing, from their foundation to their eyeliners to their lipglosses, but I just really didn't like this product whatsoever and I'd even go as far as to say it's basically a waste of four euro. Having said that, I do use it sometimes when I want don't want to use my concealer as an eyeshadow base, but most of the time I use a concealer as an eyeshadow primer and that does the job just as well.

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara
I think I was the last female on the planet to try out this product - I think every girl must have tried out this mascara. I also think it's one of those products that you will rant about or rave about. For example, my sister loves this product and repurchases it every three months (like everyone should with a mascara!) and it's currently out of stock on website. I think a little differently about it though...

I'll explain why. In terms of mascaras, this is a basic product. However, it's just that: basic. Everything from the packaging (which wouldn't look out of place in a Spice Girls music video circa 1997) to the plastic wand screams basic bitch. The wand isn't anything amazing, average size really. The real problem I have with this mascara is when you're applying it, and it's not with the brush (which is probably the only thing that saves this product in that it's easy to hold). Try as you might to not have too much product on the wand, when you apply it to your eyelashes you're left with what can only be described as a clumpy mess. I try not to judge others when it comes to beauty blunders, because we have all had them at one time or another (hell, I have them pretty much every time I wear makeup!), but I really really really don't like to see clumpy looking eyelashes on another woman. You know, when eyelashes look stuck together? Yuk, so not a good look. This mascara is unbelievable for creating that horrible clumpy look however, so if you wish to get that horrific look, then by all means, purchase this product! I'd advise you to not part with your €7.49 for this crappy product and invest in one of those Penneys brand mascaras for €2. You're better off, trust me.

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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Fashion - Five Wardrobe Staples Every Girl Should Have

Welcome back to my blog!

I'm all for trying out new trends, but I believe there's five items that every girl should have in her wardrobe, no matter what her individual style is.

1. Leather Jacket 
This is my go-to item in my wardrobe and probably my most worn item of clothing. At the moment, I have a black jacket with gold buttons I'm wearing in the photo there that I've worn in a previous blog post (see HERE), and just can't get enough of it. I got it in Penneys (Primark) for only about €20 too, so don't for a second think you have to spend a small fortune to get a decent one.

The best thing about a leather jacket is that I can wear it with skinny jeans and a plain white tee and ballet pumps for running errands in town during the daytime and then wear it to toughen up a dress to party at the night-time. There's loads of different styles available, with studs and what not, but I find the more basic the better, and the more likely they are to go with whatever you're wearing. A black one will go with pretty much every colour as well.

2. Good pair of skinny jeans

I realise I'm a budget blogger, but I'm also an honest blogger, so although I love Penneys (Primark) for their makeup, and shoes (oh my God, the shoes!) and their jewellery and most of my wardrobe is from there, I really must say that I dislike their skinny jeans with a fiery passion - I've found over the years that after about three washes they stretch quite a bit and are pretty much finished for and good to bin. Good thing that they're range around the ten euro mark or I'd be fierce angry!

My theory is that if you're going to wear an item of clothing a lot it's fairly acceptable to spend a reasonable enough amount of money on them - I feel it's more of an investment than anything else. I invested in those pair of jeans I'm wearing on the right and even though they were €70 at the time, they have lasted me nearly five years, I practically wore them to death at college,  and when you think of the amount of Penneys jeans I would have gone through in five years you'll know that it worked out a lot cheaper for me in the long run!

Much like the leather jacket, the skinny jean is a very versatile item to have in the wardrobe. They went quite well with and balanced out the crazy print top I'm wearing in the photograph there, but they also work well with just a plain white T-shirt and a leather jacket.

Blogpost which features the outfit there is HERE.

3. Dress that you can dress up or down
I wouldn't describe myself to be the girliest of girls, but I do like wearing dresses during the day and for night. I particularly like dresses that can be worn at both times! The flowery dress that's I'm wearing above is a good example of such a dress. Usually for day time I wear it with black tights or leggings with ankle boots or black ballet pumps and a black leather jacket, and for night-time I ditch the tights and ballet pumps/boots and apply tan and stick on a pair of heels. Going from casual day time to dressy night time has never been so easy!

4. High heels that you can walk in.
High heels have always been a wardrobe staple among women for many reasons. The obvious one being is that they look so pretty. The styles in Penneys as well as other high street stores at the moment (leaving out designer shoes because to be honest they're in a league of their own - too fecking pretty), and I say this as someone who wouldn't even consider herself to be that crazy about heels.

Other reasons behind why they are staples - can make you look taller and legs look longer, works your calf muscles (who doesn't want leaner legs?), self confidence (encourages you to walk tall) and can help you go from a day in the office outfit to a night out outfit without much else change to your outfit (great when you're rushing!).

You would imagine that this would go without saying, but an important point I must add is that you should practice walking in them and make sure you're able to walk in them. I've lost count of how many girls I see constantly walking up the street on nights out like something that resembles a new born calf. I can't lie - I've often been like it myself - but these days I try to stay away from ridiculously high heels that I know I can't walk in (and to be honest, I look odd in anyways given how tall I am anyway).

I find it's easier to walk in high heels if I have a strap on them. The metallic heels below are one of my most worn pair of shoes because of that very reason, I got them in Penneys (where else?) a few months back for the barganious price of €7 reduced from €16. I also find they glitz and glam up any outfit I wear them with.

I bought the pale pink wedges also pictured below because sometimes I like wearing something with height in the day time with a pair of jeans or a skirt, and these beauties fit the bill. As well as looking so pretty, they are also so comfortable to wear, I've often worn them all day and my feet don't feel sore after. They cost €16 in Penneys.

5. Statement Jewellery
I've mentioned throughout this post that you sometimes need an item that takes you from office style to nightclub style within minutes, and statement jewellery is possibly the easiest way to do so. Be with rings, bracelets or necklace, it jazzes up a plain dress/shirt within minutes and makes it more eye-catching. I will offer some words of advice though: resist the urge to go overboard. Go with statement ring or necklace or bracelet, not all three together. Also, try not to go too bling bling when it comes to picking out this kind of jewellery keep it fairly simple. There is a fine line between classy and trashy and it's ever so fine when it comes to this kind of jewellery. I found this image on Pinterest and immediately fell in love with the whole outfit. The skirt is the statement outfit piece, and the white shirt balances it out, and you can also see the statement necklace jazzing up the top half a little to make it less drab and dreary to fun and quirky. As to where other statement necklaces can be bought, Penneys have a humongous selection, ranging in price from €3-8 so depending on your budget you can find something that suits you, you don't need to go super expensive.

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Sunday, 20 September 2015

Fashion & Beauty - It's my birthdaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!

I'm only starting to get back into blogging after what can only be described as an extremely hectic two weeks! I'm starting university in England tomorrow (eeep!), having moved over from Ireland on Wednesday to get settled into my new surroundings. I'll have a blogpost up in the future talking a little bit about the city that I'm currently living in for uni (Carlisle in the north west of England). Although I'm about to become a full time student again, I have decided to keep blogging as I really like to write so much and as creepy as it may sound, I have made tons of online friendships from all over the world because of it. However, I will say that instead of blogging once/twice/maybe three times a week, I'll blog when I can and when I have time, as the priority will obviously be university and everything that goes with it, but  I wouldn't want to publish anything on my blog that wasn't of good standard and great material.

 My blog will still be beauty, fashion and lifestyle on a budget, but it will be obviously much more student orientated. Even though I bought some makeup from British brands the other day, I'll try to keep things as relevant as possible for all my lovely Irish readers!

Anyways, this blogpost is all about my birthday celebrations. My 23rd birthday wasn't until yesterday (19th September), but as I won't be returning to see my friends and family in Ireland again until Christmas break, I wanted to spend as much time as possible with them and wanted to celebrate my birthday with them, so with that in mind, I decided to have last weekend (the 12th September), as a birthday celebration and also as a kind of going away celebration as well. Celebrating my birthday a week early? Yes please!

The dress I'm wearing is from AX Paris. They have a website, and although the stuff on it is fabulous, they are more than bit expensive on there, even items on sale. This dress costs €52.50 online and if you wish you can still buy it at A boutique in my hometown in Ireland however was selling it on sale for just €12, reduced from the price they were selling it at which was €42. Can't go wrong with that can you?!

The metallic heels I'm wearing are from Penneys (Primark), I have mentioned them in previous posts, I got them on a reduced sale of €12 reduced from €16. They are so nice and easy to walk in that they are actually the only pair of high heels I own that made the cut into the suitcase to England!

Regarding makeup, I'm not sure can you see it clearly enough in the photo of me above, I didn't actually manage to take a selfie that night before I went out (what is becoming of me?!), but most of the products I've used before on nights out. The foundation I used was my holy grail night time foundation, MaxFactor Skin Luminiser in the shade '40 Light Ivory' (€15.99), concealer I used under my eyes and on blemishes was Rimmel Wake Me Up (€6.99, review of that product is HERE), powder I used was Primark Loose Powder (€2, review of this product is to come), blush I used was Catrice Defining Blush in Sunrose Avenue (€4.49, review of that product is HERE). In terms of eye makeup, I created a subtle smoky eye using the W7 In the Nude eyeshadow palette (I'll have a blogpost on this palette up shortly) before adding some drama with my all time favourite false eyelashes, Primark Sultry (€1.50), before lining with Essence Liquid Ink liquid eyeliner. I lined my lips with Primark lipliner in a berry shade before applying Primark Matte Long Last Lipstick in the shade 'Ladies Day' (€2). This lipstick is super matte and drying so do please use some lipbalm like the Nivea Essentials lipbalm (€2.09, review of that product is HERE), before applying, though this lipstick will stay on all night.

The tan I wore wearing is the amazing Cocoa Brown Day & Night tan (review of that product is HERE).

If you're a regular reader of my blog you'll know that over the past month I have not been biting my nails and using Sally Hansen Nail Growth miracle treatment to speed up the growth process (I wrote about my thoughts after using the product for five days HERE) and actually hope to have a second blogpost after using it for month up shortly. They have finally become long enough to apply nail polish to. I chose New York Color Gel Gloss in the shade '800 Greenwich Shopper', which is a matte black colour which wouldn't distract from the dress or the makeup. I find it an OK product, you need to apply two coats to the nail because anything else just looks transparent. It cost €2.20.

For the actual day of my birthday, I spent much of the day exploring around my new city surroundings. Even though I've spent so much on clothes and other bits the last few days since moving over, I had to buy a few presents for myself - sure if you can't treat yourself on your birthday when can you?! I picked out a brown skirt, a brick red crop top and black heeled boots in New Look. I thought the colours together looked so autumnal and really bang on trend.  I reckon I'll do a blogpost soon enough on the clothes that I bought.

Later in the evening I strolled into the city centre to have a few cheeky birthday drinks. I randomly passed the Irish pub on the way home and had to pop in for one - sure why not. All and all I had a really great birthday - here's to being 23, yeaaah!

Thanks so much also to those who wished me a happy birthday on my Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or through good auld calls and texts - it was very much appreciated!

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Sunday, 6 September 2015

Beauty - Review of Boots Botanic Micellar 3-in-1 Cleansing Solution (All Bright)

Forgive me father, for I have sinned...

I'm cheating on my Garnier Micellar cleansing water with this Boots Botanic Micellar 3-in-1 Cleansing Solution (All Bright). I know I know, how could I do such a thing, especially after all we've been through... However, I promise it's not what you think!
I've mentioned in passing before that I'm moving to England in just over a week for university (eeep!) and as everyone knows you can't bring liquids on the plane (well not as much as this 250ml bottle). So instead of having things go to waste my sister gave me this Boots Botanic stuff to use up before we head off and since I've been using it the last week, I decided I may as well do a quick review on it.

Much like the Garnier micellar water (see review of that product HERE), this cleansing solution dissolves your makeup, unclogs pores and acts as a toner (hence the 3-in-1). This is alcohol and soap free, which is great for anyone that has sensitive skin like myself. This cleansing solution, along with the other products in the Boots Botanics range, is created by Boots scientists working with experts in plant science at Royal Botanic Gardens in the UK. I haven't tried out the rest of the products in the range, because when I find a skincare routine that works for me I tend to stick with it for years (for example I've been using the Simple Kind to Skin Light hydrating moisturiser for about five years), although I hear from other bloggers that the radiance balm is well worth picking up, so I may try that out sometime.

Anyways, back to this micellar cleansing solution. It differs from the Garnier Micellar Water in that it contains plant hibiscus which is "nature's brightening booster". Natural alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA's), from the flower act as mild exfoliators to help leave skin smoother and brighter. Don't get put off by the word alpha whateveritis, because they're naturally occurring in most plants and have actually been found to play a big role in anti-aging treatments (which is a story for another day). However, because this product contains this, it may increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun, so if you're going out in the sun (on the off chance that it may reappear in Ireland before the year is out), use a sunscreen while using this product and limit sun exposure during and even for a week after use of the product has stopped. This product claims to be "fragrance free", but when I first smelled it, I felt like there was a slight smell to it - it's definitely not as natural as the Garnier micellar water.

I applied some to my skin on a make-up pad after a day of wearing makeup. It got rid of my makeup quickly and easily, and while it stung slightly around the eye area, it quickly stopped. However, I was surprised by how my skin felt after. Usually after applying the Garnier micellar water to my face, my skin feels re-freshed so much so that I even feel like I don't have to apply any moisturiser to contouract any dryness. While my skin did feel refreshed and toned to a point, it did feel slightly tight in areas indicating dryness. For that reason, I felt like it wasn't as kind to my skin as the Garnier micellar water, and I just didn't really like the smell of it either, so for that reason, I wouldn't purchase this product for myself as part of my cleansing regime once I arrive in the UK. I did hear afterwards that there is a version of this product available for sensitive skin, so maybe I'll try out that.

It costs €3.49 in Boots.

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Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Beauty - Beauty Trends Autumn 2015

I wouldn't describe myself as being a slave to trends, but as a blogger it's part of my interest to keep an eye on what's going on regarding them. Over the past few weeks, from checking out beauty websites, other blogs and social media, I have been compiling a list of beauty trends that are going to be huge this autumn and what better day to post this than the first day of September (really feels strange writing that, I thought the day would never come but it has actually come around so so quick!). I hope to do a blogpost tutorial on each of the looks I'll mention here over the course of the season, but I am about to become a full-time university student soon so you'll have to bear with me on that one!

1. Face
The harsh regime of contouring that the beauty world has been experiencing the last while is out the window this season and in it's place comes a much more wearable regime. This trend is all about natural makeup. Picture the scene - you're coming in from work/college/school after a chilly windy day and look in the mirror (unless you're like me, then you do not look at yourself after a day of college as you're confident you look like shite). Chances are you'll have a natural flushed, peachy, rosy colour in your cheeks. This beauty trend is not only so nice on but it's so, so easy to recreate. You don't have to be fiddling with 1237 brushes and wonder if it's all blended in or whether someone can check out your contour lines (a genuine concern of mine on most nights out!). Bit of blush, natural lips (lipstick or gloss, whatever one most floats your boat) and simple hair and eyes. Rosie Huntington Whiteley has the look nailed and looks stunning as always (though in fairness, the girl would look stunning with any kind of makeup or clothes on her).

Now where's my modelling contract?

2. Lips:

(i) Bold red lips are a huge trend this autumn. I find red lipstick so glamorous and so effortlessly sexy that it is a beauty trend that will never go out of style ever and it's one beauty look I really like to embrace not just in autumn but all year round. At the moment the red lipstick I'm currently loving is Boots Seventeen's Stay Pout, as it applies to the lips well and is matte so will stay on all night. Oh, and it's a steal at €5.60 too.
To really rock a red lip, keep the rest of your makeup simple (as the red lips really are the star attraction here), with matte skin, a bitta light blush and a slick of winged eyeliner. Taylor Swift knows the craic. Fab!

(ii) This one is a bit of a no-brainer - vampy, dark sultry lipstick is always a huge beauty trend come autumn. The trend of black lipstick is floating around recently, and even though I'm keen to give it a go just for experimental sake, I really don't think it's flattering on many people and it isn't exactly that wearable unless you have lips the size of Kylie Jenner as the really intense black tends to make lips look a lot thinner and plus it seems too costume like even for me - I really can't imagine anyone walking around my local Tesco wearing it!

Dark berry lips and dark purple lips are a hell of a lot more flattering on us mere mortals with not plenty of cash to flaunt on lip fillers like the pampered Jenner sister.

First thing's first - don't be put off or intimidated by wearing a darker lipstick shade. Makeup is all about experimentation and if you don't like it, you can always wipe it off and say you gave it a go.

I found two pictures of two talented actresses online - Lily Collins and Selena Gomez - both rocking the dark, vampy lip colour to perfection. Lily, like myself and like many of my readers, is pale and fair skinned while Selena is olive skinned and tanned. As you can see, it suits them both, and so it's not so much about your complexion but rather what makeup you accompany your vampy lip with. Like the red lipstick mentioned earlier, you should focus on keeping the rest of your makeup fairly simple, which is exactly what these two girls have done. Eyes should be simply made up, with just a nude colour and a hint of mascara, and blush should be kept to a minimum to let the dark lipstick take centre stage.

I have been loving dark lipsticks since earlier this year and I'm obsessed with Rimmel Lasting Finish lipstick in Starry Eyed. As you can see from the swatch on my hand below it's a beautiful dark berry shade, which complements my pale skin so so well. It costs €5.50.

3. Eyes
(i) As our lives become more dramatic going back to school and college and all, so becomes our eyeliner! The key with this trend is to not take things too seriously and just have fun with it. Go dramatic as you dare! If you don't feel comfortable, even just extending a basic cat eyeliner flick out a few inches and making the eyeliner slightly thicker will do the job just as well. If you suffer with shaky, granny hand syndrome like myself, invest in an eyeliner pen like these beauties from Catrice that will allow you to draw a thin line to get a gist of where your eyeliner is heading in, they work well for me and better still, they only cost about three or four euro. If you are really struggling with the eyeliner but want a dramatic eyeliner shape, not to worry! I'd recommend you to check out this innovative eyeliner called 'The Curve' by NYX Cosmetics. It has a unique shape that basically makes the eyeliner easier to hold and grip so you can apply eyeliner without a hitch. I am very keen to try out this product soon, I've heard such good reviews about it, it's definitely one on my wish list! I haven't actually tried out any products by NYX yet, so I hope to change that very soon! It costs about sixteen euro if you're interested in checking it out.

Here are just a few pics to get you inspired:

(ii) Another big trend for the eyes this autumn is a metallic eyeshadows, with golden and copper tones. It looks fabulous in the picture below, doesn't it? I think it looks amazing teamed with a nude lipstick as seen on the beautiful Lily Collins (does that girl ever get it wrong in the beauty stakes?) but I think it just looks exquisite with a purple or a berry lipstick. Again, the rest of the makeup must be kept quite simple to allow for the eyes to be the standout of the look.

I hope you enjoyed this blogpost, and found it informative and learned a trend or two from it! I'm really excited to show you my interpretation of some of these makeup looks too, so stay tuned for that over the coming season!

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