Thursday 28 August 2014

Rape (Culture): A Dirty Little Word

Warning: This content may upset some readers, please be aware before reading.

I have sat down to write on this topic a million times. I honestly don't even know where to begin, I just want to rant, cry and spew every last thought and feeling about this onto the page, but for the benefit of the readers I'll do my best to form a half comprehensible post. But do bare with me, theres a lot of ranting to be done. And before some of you think it, no I'm not just another 'woman 'on some wild 'feminist' rage about men. Just clearing that up now!

Rape culture isn't something new, its splashed across headlines many times a day and is never far from the daily thoughts of a lot of people. The sad thing is that its very much alive and well, its something that can be explained by anyone you ask. But I'm asking this question, not as an uneducated person or from ignorance, but from pure and utter disrepair. Why is rape culture still something that is tolerated and found acceptable by so many today? Why?

On a daily bases I get harassed, things shouted at me, wolf whistled. Even at times physically grabbed by men. Don't for one moment think I'm not aware that men also get this sort of treatment. People, regardless of gender rape and get raped. But why am I specifically targeting men here? The survivors of sexual violence reported that 95.7% of perpetrators were male - (NRCS 2009). In 2007 it was  still a consistently high 96.2% and in 2008 it was 95.8%. That could be even more, but a huge amount of people don't report their rape. Years ago, when I was raped it was by a male. Every time I get cornered at a bar, grabbed at on the street or called out to with some form of abuse it has been by a man. The minute a woman does any of these things, I will be first to hold my hands up and rewrite this entire post. But until then I'm sorry to say that for the most part, its men. If you want to get angry about that, get angry at those who have brought this fear to women and have brought this thing called 'rape culture' that is such a common phrase, into existence. Why should those few tar the rest of the male gender with the same brush all because of the actions of others? It is not exceptionable. Ever.  

It shouldn't be about teaching women not to get raped - but teaching men not to rape. I see many of these 'real men don't rape' posters but why are we saying that? Why define it down to 'real men'? All men and women should not rape. Why in this day and age should we have to teach people what is not only socially acceptable and also morally right, not to mention the law. In Ireland today there is still a huge conception that rape is something that doesn't happen and god forbid if it does then it has no place but to be pushed under the rug. This is a perfect example of rape culture. 'She asked for it'  or slut shaming is another one often heard. To question how a person was dressed and what they were doing before they were raped is the lowest thing someone can do. But again, it is done so often. Boys will be boys after all, or isn't that what some like to say, to brush it off as. I am personally proud to say that I talked about my rape, I wasn't believed by my family but my school was wonderful and the Dublin rape crisis center helped me so much. (They have a 24hour helpline: 1800 77 88 88. And a website here.) 

But what I'm not proud to say is that each and every time I'm cat-called, a comment is made to me or I'm approached unwanted, I always question myself. Was I asking for it? Did I make eye contact or was it the way I was dressed? Recently while walking down the middle of Henry St at about 2:30pm when there were crowds of people I came to an abrupt stop. Someone had stepped into my path and I looked up to see a very tall and physically intimidating man. What did he want you ask? Once I looked up he imminently said 'Smile, it would make you look better, cos you already have a great ass'. When I told him to leave me alone and that wasn't an appropriate thing to say I was told that I was 'crazy' and that 'ugly girls like you should be happy someone said something nice to them'. What was I doing at the time? I was looking in my handbag. What was I wearing? Leggings, shorts, a tshirt and a hoodie. 

Another time I was walking down Grafton St to the bus stop after a blogger event at roughly 10pm. A man walked beside me the entire way down, asking for my number and passing remarks about how 'hot' I was. When I asked him to leave me alone he grabbed my arm and pushed me against a shop window. I gave him a fake number so he would leave me alone and hurried in the opposite direction. What was I doing? Checking my phone to see if I would make my bus. What was I wearing? A dress that reached to my knees and a coat. 

I am genuinely tired - worn out and saddened that in 2014 I am still wary, even go as far to say scared, to walk down a dark street at night on my own for fear of being raped. To plan my day by how bright it is, how many people will be around the area, if I am with men or women and what would be ok to wear. I am upset that I see memes about rape, (google rape and look at the images, I was sickened to even see a cat rape joke) to hear young people shouting sexual harassment at each other and laughing or overhear adults passing sexual remarks about other people. Why is this made to be normal when rape happens daily, is a daily fear for so many. However the unsettling statistic is that 89% of rapists are known to the victim (RCNI 2009). That '21% of adult women survivors of sexual violence disclosed that their partner or ex-partner was the perpetrator of  the violence' (National and international statistics). The word 'NO' doesn't seem to have any meaning anymore. And for that, I am truly angry. 

I have no answers. I'm just one person asking the question: Why is rape still ok?

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Irish Brand: Green Angel

 If you know your Irish bands then Green Angel should be top of your list, along with the other greats. For those of you who are your new round here, then let me tell you I am a massive buy Irish fan and when I find a brand I love, I just have to tell everyone. Being honest I was well aware of this brand growing up, the mammy and granny always had a few pots of potions and lotions in their bedrooms. The type that you'd be smacked into next week if you touched - ah, Irish mammies, how we love them! 

But it wasn't until recently that I took a second look at Green Angel and realised that not only are they amazing all round, but they can be for younger skin as well as older skin. This isn't just for my mammy or granny anymore! They have a great range of products and gift sets to choose from and if I'm not going to get shot over it - I have my eye on a few things that would be perfect Christmas presents. (I know, I know! Not  even September yet.) I can't get over how gorgeous the presentation of the products are and the quality of the ingredients list. This brand is what I would call luxury.  

The first thing that I hesitantly tried was the Green Angel seaweed daily moisture face cream*. I never use face moisturisers as my skin is on the oily side of combination and it just makes my makeup slide off my face 10 minutes after I apply everything. But since I started swimming I've noticed my skin dry, tight and a little sore which I put down to the harsh chlorine. This was the first pot I reached for, just to see if it helped at all and it really smells divine, so it was a pleasure to use. I only needed the smallest fingertip of cream as it spreads out really well over the skin. With a consistency like that, I would say this 50ml jar would last you for ages even with daily use. Over the past few weeks I have seen a huge improvement in my skin, its not sore or tight anymore when I get out of the pool and its never dry either. The one thing I would suggest is really only using a little at a time and then building up the product if you feel your skin needs more as it is so rich and thick, so it can be hard to settle into your skin if too much is put on at once.

'The invigorating, beneficial and tension-relieving properties of seaweed have been documented from ancient times. Seaweed contains an even concentration of nutrient, vitamins and active natural resources that along with the high quality essential oils we use in our Green Angel Daily Moisture Face Cream, will visibly replenish the skin. This leaves the skin re-energized and invigorated with an improved sensation of radiance and energy.'

It is packed with vitamin E, seaweed from the west coast of Ireland, jasmine and neroli essential oils to name a few things. Its not tested on animals, paraben free and also says its biodegradable. Apart from how amazing this product is, the packaging is just as impressive. The lovely but really heavy green jar comes in a sturdy box that has all the information on it that you could want. I'm a big fan of sturdy packaging as a lot of things can just fall apart or not stand to the challenge of travelling. I wouldn't hesitate to throw this into my suitcase and not have a second though. This is about €25 which is a pinch but considering how long this will last me, how rich it is and that its supporting an Irish business, I think this is worth forking out a little extra for. 

Much like the moisturiser, the Green Angel seaweed body lotion* has a lot of the same traits. This contains some similar ingredients of neroli, seaweed, essential oils and a few others like  lavender and chamomile. Unlike the moisturiser though, it has quite a watery consistency so when using this I had to make sure only a little came out at a time or otherwise it would go everywhere. It has the same lovely scent as the other product, which would make me think that perhaps all the Green Angel line has that trade mark scent. If you pass by one of them in a shop, make sure to have a sniff as I'm awful at describing smells and I'm certain you don't regret it!

Another thing that I noticed about this lotion is that the bottle isn't as sturdy as the pot of cream above. The plastic isn't very thick and I doubt I would bring this anywhere with me as I feel it could break or easily open, which is a pity. However it is really a treat to use, it sinks into the skin well and the scent lasts all day. This isn't what I would call a heavy duty cream for the likes of sandpaper elbows or knees, but for everyday use its perfect and light. 

'Green Angel Seaweed Body Lotion is enriched with natural essential oils. It will nourish and soothe - condition and tone leaving the skin soft and silky'

This bottle is about €15 and although it is really lovely to use and I am in love with the smell, I think its too much money to hand over for 200ml. If the packaging was stronger I honestly think I would be more inclined to buy it as it does leave my skin soft and sinks in so well. 

Have you heard of this brand before? 
Would you try it?

*I did not pay for this item, it was a PR gift.  Please see my disclaimer here

Thursday 21 August 2014

Empties #5

Ah lads, why in the name of god do I manage to leave it so long before I have a look in my empty bag of bottles and realise that its overdue a clearing out and a post about what I've been using up? I don't know at all, but my god, here is yet again another mad long one with lots of photos. So, sorry about that!

First off there are all the Garnier Ultimate Blends shampoos, conditioners and masks. Out of these three there is not one I wouldn't pick up again or recommend to anyone and they have been cropping up in my monthly favourites for a while now. They all left my hair softer and in better condition, they smell lovely and I'm a big big fan of their one minute leave in conditioners. If I was going to pick up one of these again I would say it would be the brown bottles of sleek restorer as they smell divine and they are the last ones I used, so naturally still fresh in my mind. Bonus points that this brand is always on sale in Boots, half off and some lovely advantage card points? Yeah I'll take them all thank you!

As always this kind of post wouldn't be complete without a few Aussie products in there somewhere. I have one shampoo and two conditioners, but I have to admit after using so much of the lovely Ultimate Blends things I might be more inclined to pick them over Aussie. However nothing can beat the Aussie 3 minute miracle conditioner for soft makings AND a lovely smelling head. Tiny bit on the pricey side if you don't get them in an offer though. 

Kerastase shampoo is something I have had in my drawer for well over a year. I remember getting it at a blogger meet up and all the girls going mad over it, I was delighted (and clueless) a little bit too. After trying it out a few times I just didn't get what the hype was all about. Nor did I get the price tag of €20, say whhaa?! I finished it up when I was on a use up half finished products binge, but I am still scratching my head. 

H'suan Wen Hua was something I tried a while ago in the hope that it would help me get the birds net of a head sorted out a little more. You can read my review of it here.  

Who doesn't go through a bundle of deodorants and dry shampoo? I love these small bottles to throw in my handbag and they are normally on offer too. I also picked up one for €1.49 in Dealz the other day, so you really can't go wrong! Impulse hint of musk has to be my favourite body spray of all time and I am forever stocking up on them. Has anyone else noticed the price of Impulse creep up in the past few months or is it just me? Sneaky!

I have banged on aboout Batiste more then is possible so I'll not say too much. My only regret is that Boots doesn't stock Timotei dry shampoo as well. I think this is one of the best I have ever used and was really sad when it came to an end. I picked it up in Tesco on offer one day and haven't seen it since. It doesn't leave a layer of white powder across your hair like Batiste seems to always do. Its just magic stuff. If you see it make sure and pick one up, its so worth it. Oh and please please tweet me too, I need it back in my life!

Two of these scrubs were in my top 3 body scrub post thats over here. I really love Soap&Glory, it has to be one of my favourite brands for body scrubs and moisturisers. But on the other end of the scale there is the Amatomicals scrubs and the easy to pick up Flower Pharh that you can get in most Tesco's. I go through body scrubs like its the end of the world, so I always look for ones that might be on the cheaper end of the scale! Although the breakfast scrub lasted especially long. And oh, oh the smell! Om, nom nom nom.

Since I finished my Botanics all bright eye make up remover I have been trying out lots of other ones with no luck at all. This is by far my most favourite of the lot , easy on the eyes and takes anything stubborn off in no time. Its also on offer in Boots a lot, but in the past few weeks I haven't been keeping an eye. Now that I'm reminded its off to Boots tomorrow for me! I did a review of it way back when, over here.

Three bath/shower gels now, and two are from Lush. I've slowly but surely been making my way through all my Lush booty and my ban is nearly up! I can't begin to talk about the list of things I want from that shop, my god. This is my second bottle of The Olive Branch is a gorgeous fresh shower gel that smells like olives (well, duh) and quite, savory? Its hard to explain but it wakes me up in the morning and I was sad to see it all gone. The other is Snow Fairy, a cult product that smells like all the sweetest sweets in one little bottle. I didn't use this one up, it was given to himself who loves rock star soap and snow fairy. However it does smell quite nice from afar.

Last in this pile is a massive bottle of bubble bath in chocolate cupcake from Beauticology. I was expecting way more from this product if I'm honest. I used it up quickly as the bubbles it made quickly disappeared in the bath. It did have a lovely chocolate smell but didn't do much else for me. I think it was from a set I got in the Christmas sales and if I remember right the set itself was a lovely presentation, but I might skip these products when buying gifts this year. 

Even more Lush things - I swear these are really old! Cupcake is my go-to face mask. I never buy masks from Lush, instead waiting until I have 5 empty pots to bring back so its a special treat! Cupcake is a chocolate mask that targets impurities and spots, so its perfect for me. I never notice a huge difference in my skin from using this, but sometimes its just nice to put a face mask on and enjoy the little things in life. On the other end of the scale is the Rudolph face mask that was out at Christmas time. Don't worry, this has been used months ago and was just lurking empty in the back of my drawers. I hated this one with a passion.. I just realised that I blogged about this in my last empties post! I must have put it back in my drawer by accident! Oh well, you can't always be on the ball. At least everyone can be aware to stay clear of it if it comes back this Christmas!

Another Lush product is my much loved and missed (until the ban ends!) aqua marina cleanser. It smells awful if your not used to it, like a day at the beach when the tide has gone out. All seaweed and ugh. But it makes my skin feel really lovely and I find it clears up the bigger, redder spots that can crop up. I can't wait to get my hands on this again and it lasts so long. I had that pot for nearly 2 months.

A product that I don't go through fast is the antiseptic cream that can be used for burns, cuts and also on spots. I really love this stuff, it drys out spots over night and I always notice a huge difference in the morning after using it for just one night. A holy grail in terms of spot fighting treatments. It also lasts for ages and I love that its a multi purpose product. 

Something that I've had for I don't know how long is my Soap&Glory The Greatest Scrub Of All facial exfoliator. I liked this and would buy it again but since I started buying more face scrubs I have found loads that I really like. In other words, this is on the list of good ones, but along with a lot of others. 

I think by now its safe to say I've gone through about 10-12 bottle of True Match foundation by Rimmel. My god is that stuff good and a lot of the time its on offer. Half of the reason I always pick it up is because I know it works for my skin tone and I'm afraid to fork out for something that might not work as well. I must expand on the foundation buying and try out more! But I do like this one, its really easy to build up too.

Two more continuous repurchases for me are the Natural Collection pressed powder and Essence black liquid eyeliner. Again I have easily gone through about 15 of both of these. Every time I walk by the stands I pick both of these up. They are both under €3, both easy to use and stay put all day. Just what I'm looking for. 

Lastly my mini tube of They're Real Benefit mascara. I am a massive fan of this mascara and already have a brand new full sized one waiting to be opened after I finish trying out a few other mascaras. This is my holy grail mascara - and thats saying something considering the totally crazy price. 

Sorry this was crazy long! Anything catch your eye?

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Seventeen Falsifeye HD Mascara

The latest thing to hit the blogosphere is the must-have brand spankin' new mascara from Seventeen. We all know I'm a massive fan of this budget brand. Not only are the cheaper then chips but they have some seriously amazing products and dupes for high end make up brands. I'm not all that crazy about mascara in general, its the eye shadows and foundations that get me every time. But whats the harm in checking out what all the fuss was about, especially when there were reports that it was a dupe for Benefits There're Real. If those claims were true then I'd be cutting my mascara buying habit by almost €20! (There're Real is my one weakness in life, just give it to me. Everything else is a fiver or less, promise!)

To make things better when I went into Boots for one of the bad boys, it was a 3 for 2 deal. It would have been rude not to pick up a few other bits too, but I came away with my prize of the day, all for €8.89. Have to say, what drew me in even before I was on the hunt for the mascara was the box it came in. Oh I love me a bit of fancy looking packaging! Get a load of that pink, ah you just can't beat it. Then of course there is the slightly less fancy, but all the same practical tube of mascara.

I'll cut to the chase, this is in no way a dupe for Benefit. Holy god whoever made that comparison is well out of their tree! But it is a nice mascara none the less. I'm a big fan of the wand, its long and has two different lengths of bristles so its perfect for getting right to the base of the lashes as well as the lower lashes that are really small on me - am I the only one here? The formula is also just right, it doesn't take ages to dry but at the same time its not too dry either. Is it cringe if I make a Goldilocks and the Three Bears reference for a mascara? I'll just be in the corner.. However I'm lost on the HD effect, maybe it just sounded good at the time when they were brain storming names?

This isn't going to give your eyeballs the wow factor with one coat, but slap on three or so and your ready to hit the town and knock em' dead with those oh-so-sexy face flutters. Bonus points, I never get clumps of mascara resting on the lashes, even when I layer more on then humanly possible. I might not be able to lift my eyelids open, but man does my face look great. Major apologises for not putting up proper photos of it actually on my eyes to give you an idea, but man my face has been having a serious week off. I'll try throw something up on my instagram soon!

Do you think you'd pick one of these up? 

Friday 15 August 2014

Bleach London

I'm a fan of a nice hair dye in case you haven't already noticed! I've tried loads of different brands out over the years and sported every shade going. Naturals to out right neon looks, cos' I like to mix it up a little. I spotted Bleach London in Boots a few months ago and was sure I would no doubt get my paws on a few bottles to lash in the hair. 

Before I dye my hair a bright colour I nearly always bleach it first so the colour comes out brighter and nicer. I use Jerome Russell Bblonde products, as seen in the photo above. It does a great job but careful when using it as the smell could nearly put you under the table and if any gets on your skin it will burn. Like, ouch fuckin pain that stuff burns! K? Good.

The first thing about Bleach London hair dye is the price, when compared to other unnatural hair colours, is a little more expensive then others out there. Its €6.69 for 150ml which isn't too bad in the long run but I have a strong devotion to the Live XXL colours that are cheaper and sometimes on offer at 2 for €9. Apart from price, the packaging is really eye catching and fun but it doesn't come with any colour friendly conditioners or even plastic gloves like other brands do. I don't mind the conditioner not being there, but I always need gloves. Washing your hands with bleach to try and get the dye off my skin is never something I look forward to. 

Anyway, I used the bleach, dyed my hair back to a white blonde. Got some of the Bleach London dye in bruised violet and slathered it on. It recommends you leave it for roughly 20 minutes but I left mine in almost an hour, as I'm lazy and didn't want to wash it out. (I might have gotten back into bed with a book to wait and then it was warm and.. oh dear.) Washing it out was fine and once I dried my hair I noticed that it was slightly patchy in colour - not from an uneven application but rather the dye just didn't seem to work in all the places it was put on. This bugged me a little as I had even bleached my hair so the dye would take better. You can see what I mean in the third photo below. I thought just to leave it in longer next time I used it.

On the bottle it says that the dye comes out in 2 to 10 washes, but this wasn't the case at all. The next day when I washed my hair (this would be the second wash as I'm counting washing the hair dye out as the first wash) as normal with some Dove colour friendly shampoo it turned blue and green in places. Not only that but it faded dramatically. You can see in the last photo below. I had never had that happen with any other dye I had used and was really shocked. I thought maybe it was the shampoo I had used that reacted with it but after finding some reviews on the Boots site I realised that this was happening with a lot of people. It wasn't just me who had faded blue and green hair!

Since dying it the first time and having this happen, I decided to dye over it again and the same thing is after happening. Its so annoying to spend the money and time on your hair and end up looking like you fell into a rainbow. But in fairness I have come to love the multicoluored outcome, even if its not what I was going for to begin with. After I finish this bottle I doubt if I'll ever buy dye from Bleach London again, instead sticking to brands I know will work, that are cheaper and come with gloves, conditioner and more.  

What really bugs me about this brand is the huge hype it has, when there are other brands that have been out longer with better results and they don't get talked about half as much. I hope over the next few months when more people have tried Bleach London there will be more praise for other brands. Right now only the big Boots in Liffey Valley stocks it, but you can order it online.

Thursday 14 August 2014

Book Review: Carnival

I'll be honest, it was the colours on the cover of this book that drew me in first here. What put me off was the two people in a classic sexy pose. I may love erotica but man, do they have to put cringey pictures on the front? Wheres the muscle man on a horse and the half dressed damsel in distress swooning towards him? Anyway, things that make me rant for hours on end aside, this is a girl meets bad boy story. Just the kind of thing I needed after reading a good few thrillers and murder mysteries.

We follow Charlie who has just graduated from high school and should be off to college, but her parents have split up and shes worried about her mother who barely moves from the couch, preferring to have The NoteBook on repeat. Charlie decides shes better off staying in her small town then venturing off into the big wide world. As her friends pack their last few things for their college dorms, Charlie visits the carnival thats come to town. There she meets Blue, the most gorgeous guy shes ever set eyes on, who also happens to be a carnie. She plans to see him again, but wants to keep his job out of conversation from family and friends. He can't be all bad boy, or can he? He leaves the carnival life and stick around for the girl hes fallen for and Charlie soon finds out his secrets. But she might be a little blinded by love.

I have a love/hate relationship with this book. I'm a big fan of the bad boy story line and I love the shots of erotic scenes that you stumble across every now and then. Not to mention the young love is forever and unbreakable, le sigh. But the story gets very far fetched and I actually got a little sad as it could have been almost believable if the author didn't just throw in all the stereotypes at once. Its also hard to not be a little annoyed over Charlies 'I'm a big girl now, I'm an adult and 18. I can do what I want!' carry on and thought process. I know we are/were all like that at one stage, but I don't particularly want to read about it for an entire book.

One last thing that I couldn't ignore as it left me scratching my head, was the minor story line at the beginning talking about Charlies mother and father breaking up. Its all doom and gloom, but suddenly half way through the book the mother picks herself off the couch and continues on with life as normal, without any explanation. It seems like the author forgot how she was acting when she was introduced to the reader. Major WTF?! moment for me, and not in the good way.

Overall I didn't find this totally awful, as I said I love the odd bit of erotica, the mystery of a bad boy who can sweep anyone he chooses off their feet and the big love in a small town. The author - apart from Charlies mother - does a good job of introducing likable and easy to remember minor characters and the story flows well. Its easy to pick up at any point and remember the characters, something I personally can find hard to do with some books when there are just too many names or characters that aren't memorable. If I was to rate it, I'd give it 6 out of 10.  

Saturday 9 August 2014

Exfoliating Magic Foot Treatment

I'll warn you all now, this is a somewhat nasty and scary post. I'm talking skin here, rough dead stuff and very much alive stuff too. You've all been told!

Over a week ago I read a blog post from a favourite blogger who talked about these foot exfoliating bags for your feet. Naturally I went on the hunt for them and found some in Dunnes, though you I hear you can get them from chemists, Penneys and online too. I have really rough horrible skin all over my feet (sexy, I'm well aware) so I thought these would be the perfect thing.

The basic gist is you have one pair of 'socks' in the pack. When you open it you cut the socks open and there are two sticky tags, one on each sock so you can tape them around your ankles. You sit with them on for a recommended 90 minutes (I watched a short film) and then wash your feet and dry them. Inside the socks is a gel-like substance that makes it difficult and slippery to walk in. If you use them really try to stay off your feet while you let the treatment work, I went on my arse trying to make a cuppa.

After 7 days it says that all the rough and dead skin will peel off your feet and you'll be left with shiny new soft ones. In fairness this is just what happened. I had near given up on the socks ever working by day 4 and totally forgot I had used them until day 6 when I almost keeled over in shock at the state of my soles. I honestly thought I had caught some horrible disease and my skin was peeling off as a result - whats that you say? Too much embarrassing bodies? Not at all!..

But heres the scary part. Not only did it make the rough and dead skin peel off, but parts of my fresh and very much alive skin come off as well. Its still really sore and I'll admit, it was kind of scary seeing and feeling my skin come off. I called my podiatrist friend in utter panic to see if I needed to go to the hospital as, well, I mean my skin was falling off! And after she laughed at me (I tend to call her in panic a lot 'I've pulled out a clump of hair, I'm half bald. Its ok to glue it back in, right?' or an old classic whenever I have had too much to drink 'I just wanted to pluck one hair. But now I've no eyebrows! Will sunglasses work?') she told me that there sounded like there was a mild acid in the pack and how were people allowed to sell this stuff. On a side note, a podiatrist is the kind of person you want to go to if you need rough or dead skin removed. Not scary skin eating €4 foot packs!

In the end I've to just wait until my skin grows back and not use those yokes again. I'm quite sure I'm in the minority here for dreadful things to happen from using these as they are blogged about - and I trust these bloggers totally. They are also all over the market, Amazon is selling them by the dozen (but at extortionate prices) and there is nothing online that seems to say people have had the same experience as myself. Maybe I just have very sensitive skin, but the stinging has yet to completely stop and I'm avoiding looking at the 'hole' - piece of missing skin on the bottom of my foot. It makes me slightly bias when saying I don't think I'll be picking them up again, I like having skin. Even if its a little rough!

Apart from the fresh, nerve ending filled skin coming off, the socks did make my skin very soft, but only on the soles. The rough skin on the sides of my feet and toes are still the same, which makes me wonder how well theres socks work overall. I personally don't think its value for money - especially if a doctors bill had been added to the picture!

I really hope this hasn't put anyone off trying these magic foot socks, I just wanted to share my experience and warn people too!

Friday 8 August 2014

Brand Spotlight: Oriflame 'The One'

Last month I was delighted to attend the launch of Oriflame's new collection 'The One' that is aimed at a younger audience - post here. I was given some of the range to try out and I have to admit, I went from not even knowing this brand existed to pleading for some of the products for my birthday next month. I'm genuinely converted to this brand and can't understand why I don't see it more on the blogosphere. Everything in this post has been gifted to me (see my disclaimer here) and you can order online here.

First up is the gorgeous colour impact cream eye shadow in the shimmer colours rose gold and golden brown. Theres 8 colours in this collection and the wonderful thing that I noticed is that they all compliment each other. You could literally buy any of them and create a look, this is perfect for beginners or maybe someone who isn't quite sure about a little present! I really love the little plastic pots that they come in, they look high end and something to display on your beauty draw or in your room. The two here are easy to use, no fussing over make up brushes or any need to overly blend. Stick your finger in the pot, swipe over your lids and your good to go. Personally I like to use a base of a regular eye shadow in a similar shade before applying the cream shadows for a base - the creams will stay longer and they wont crease.
 Initially I thought the price of €12.95 was crazy for a tiny pot until I used them for a few days, seeing how well they looked, blended and stayed put all day, not to mention after a month of daily use there is hardly a dent in the product. Right now they are on sale for €9.45, so I may just indulge.. 

Keeping with the the theme I want to talk about the volume blast mascara in black. I'm not a big mascara buff, I either like it or I don't, simple as. For me this was an ok one, I liked the length of the wand and the plastic bristles are small so its easy to get up close to the base of the lashes, but the formula didn't blow me away. For €12.45 I think you could get a cheaper and possibly better mascara from Seventeen or another brand. It also only comes in black or blue, which I think is odd that they don't have a more sought after shade like brown. Maybe they might add to the line and more colours will appear.   

However the real gem that I have been bursting at the seams to tell anyone that will listen is the eye liner stylo in black. I wasn't going to even try this when I first saw it, liquid liner and pencil are the only things I use, not even gel makes the cut. I had used these felt tip pen-like liners before and had a dreadful time of it. But seeing as I wanted to be able to write a decent review for the aul blog, I decided to take the pen to my eye balls. And lads, I'm so feckin' glad I did, you've no idea. I have actually swapped everything I normally use for this felt tip liner, its got me all a-flutter with its stupidly easy to use ways, its unbelievably staying power and its tiny tip that makes wings utterly perfect. I'm wearing it in the photo above and there are swatches in the photos below too. When this runs out I will be getting it again, theres just no other way to say it. At €11.45 I would normally think its a crazy ass price, but you can't put a price on love. 

Next its all about them under eye dark circles, oh bane of my life. I'm all about the concealers and colour correcting make up, if I don't have a good base my foundation and the rest of my make up is just going to go flop. This is the illuskin concealer in the shade fair light, one of only three lighter skined shades you can ger. I'm always a little annoyed when brands don't cater for a wider range of skin tones and this is one of those times. But that rant is for another day. This little tube is easy to use and the product is creamy and easy to apply, not drying out too quick so yo have time to blend and set it. The photo above in the bottom left hand corner is a swatch slightly blended into the skin, you can barely see it as it matches my skin tone so well. I'm impressed with this and it says put all day once its set with powder, but I'm not sure if I would pay €9.95 for it as I use other concealers that I have loved for a long time that are cheaper.

I'm not going to say too much about the long wear nail polish in the shade cappuccino as I want to do a separate review on it soon, with proper swatches and a big natter on what I think of it. But overall, I like the range of 15 shades that come in this line. Cappuccino isn't my normal go-to colour or something that I would ever pick out, but when I used it I was surprised at how much I liked it. I think this would be a good one for winter. At €9.45 its not really breaking the bank, 

Next is another big love from this collection, colour unlimited lipstick in the shade fuchsia excess. I don't know if I should start with how much I love the sturdy but cute packaging, the easy to use tube and product, the staying power or the excitement I felt when I saw the range of colours. Its just one of those products, you pick it up for the nice packaging and go back to buy 1 more after you see how gorgeous it really is. This isn't overly moisturising but its incredibly pigmented. It has a crazy lasting power after a few drinks, some food and a sneaky kiss it was definitely faded but not in the 'oh my god are they my lips?! Jesus someone pass me the lippie to fix this catastrophe!' way, more in the, ah I'll fix it when I'm off to the loo next, way. And eh bonus points, this colour matches my hair! We all know I love a good hair and lip match, yes sir. This comes in 10 different colours and I want at least 6 more. For €13.75 I do think its a little dear, but if you were treating yourself to some hair/shoe/jumper matching lipsticks, I think these ones should be on the list.

 Lastly is the illuskin blush in pink glow. I'm not much for the blushes, I have to admit. I thought this was a little too pink toned for my complexion, but none if I had a little tan I think this would have been gorgeous. Curse looking naturally like a milk bottle. The lighter side is more of a higher and has a shimmer to it compared to the matte pink blush. A handy two in one product that also has a little mirror. This comes in 2 other shades and I personally love the more peach toned compact. Its normally €12.45 but its currently marked down to €9.45. 

Is there anything that caught your eye here? Have you heard of Oriflame before?

*I did not pay for these items, they were  PR gifts.  Please see my disclaimer here

Thursday 7 August 2014

Spa Body Essentials

A little while ago the lovely people from Oceana Spa gave me one of their shower sets to try out, the *spa body essentials. I was really delighted to try the set that contains a shower gel, body scrub, body lotion and a bath lily. This set can be purchased from Oceana Spa but I'm still not sure what price it is after asking for a price list a few times, but if you contact them I am sure they would be happy to help. I've found the set online in dollars over here, which in euro roughly converts to €28.  

I really like the presentation of the set, the hard plastic bag that everything come in is right up my street. The packaging on the products is very basic however, which is a slight let down to a colour obsessed magpie like myself. But its whats inside and how well it works that counts at the end of the day. 

Earlier last month I did a little review of my favourite product out of the set here, the body scrub in my top 3 list. Filled with cocoa butter, mango butter and sugar cane, its got some great exfoliating power as well as being moisturising at the same time. Not to mention that its also a big 8.5 oz/140g pot. This, like the rest of the range has a distinct sweet sugar and lemon scent, its surprisingly refreshing. I've written more about it over here.

Next is my least favourite of the lot, the body wash. I didn't find that this foamed up well in the shower and the scent didn't linger on the skin once I was dried off. On the back it suggests using it in the bath as a bubble bath as well. When I tested it out it was very disappointing lacking in bubbles or even doing something for my skin after sitting in the water for over half an hour. This is a 12 fl oz/354.8ml bottle that has a pump, which is the one thing that I did really like about it. 

Last is the smoothie body creme thats 7oz/199.7g. I'm a big fan of this, its thick and creamy. It spreads alright and smells the same as the other products including vanilla, grapefruit and orange. My dear little mammy had a go of this as well and came away with the same thoughts as myself, she would buy it again. This is lasting well, but not as well as some of my moisturisers. As its quite thick you have to squeeze out a little extra then other products I've used which is something I noticed over the two weeks trying it out. Depending on what price this is, it mightn't be value for money when compared to other brands of the same quality. But it does leave my skin soft and drys in averagely well. 

What do you think of this set, would you use it or buy it as a gift? 

*I did not pay for this item, it was a PR gift.  Please see my disclaimer here. 

Wednesday 6 August 2014

July Favourites

Late favourites is late, yeah sorry about that. This past month I've found is hard to just sit down and write and its followed me over into August which is crappy. I'm going to try work on that! Anyway July was the month I reignited my love for my kindle after being asked to review books from NetGallery. Why I ever decided it didn't need to be glued to my hand is beyond me! I have so many books read and am going to pile up reviews for the odd occasion, as I'm aware not everyone is a book review kinda person.  However, if you are a book person, Nurse Fancy Pants is always great for a wide variety of must reads, as is the lovely Behind Green Eyes.  In short, I'd like all of the books, thankyouplease.

Next up is my much raved and loved bottle of almond shower gel from the Body Shop. Oh man this stuff is like sex in a bottle, its just gorgeous. Its on sale at the moment for a fiver so naturally I had to go back and get another bottle of it. It foams up so much and the scent lingers on your skin well after you've had a shower. I want everyone I love to have a bottle - if almond was their favourite scent that is! It makes me happy.

I've had La Roche-Posay thermal spring water spray in a favourites before, but this lad has been keeping me and the rest of the house cool in the recent heat wave that hit Ireland earlier in the month. Honest to god we were all melty yokes before I remembered I had this. Bonus points, I through it in the fridge for extra coolness. Its pricey at €4.99 for a 50ml bottle, but I really think its worth it. 

Another thing I can't get into the shower without recent is Garnier's ultimate blends 'the sleek restorer' 1 minute hair treatment for dry and frizzy hair. As some of you will know, I'm a mad one for dying my hair and treating it really poorly, so a quick slather of this every morning is working wonders. I've really noticed a big difference and my hair is much softer - a lot more then with other treatments or conditioners I've used. I think in future I'd pick this up instead of a regular conditioner, it seems to have more good soft hair making things packed into it. I got this half price along with the shampoo and they both smell lovely. But if your picking up just one hair product, get the 1 minute hair treatment. Soft kitty.

Over a year ago I blogged about Lush Ultrabalm thats a multitaking balm. (I'm not linking it as its cringe and the photo is woeful.. and the rest! Find it at your own peril.) You can use it on your lips, for chaffing, to mosturise those really sand paper knees or elbows, maybe even to take off your eye make up if your stuck like I have many a night. This does so much, its a wonder I have it as long as I do. As you can see mine is almost finished so I'm going to be getting it again soon. For over €11 its a pricey little pot, but I think its a proper gem. Plus this is my last Lush ban month, woo!

Lastly a total steal, my much loved Wet'n'Wild mega last balm stain in red. Its the most beautiful medium red not too dark but not too bright, just perfect! Its under €3 as far as I can remember, but double check as I think it could be under €2. It lasts really long, its not moisturising but at the same time I don't find that it drys out my lips, which is always a surprise for a cheap lip product. Its really easy to apply and I find myself not even looking in a mirror - perhaps ill advised! (can you say Cat the Clown!?) The one big downside is the lid, it never stays on and has ruined the inside of a bag. Boo. But all is forgiven, its just too lovely not to want to us all the time!

Have you loved any of these things too?