Monday 22 December 2014

Looking Back At Blogging In 2014

Over the past while I've been paying extra attention to all aspects of my blog in preparation for doing this post. Every week I'm shaking my head at something or other in utter wonder. 2014 has been such an amazing year in the world of blogging for me and its all down to the people that visit it and have a goo. I know by now that thats the age old cliche saying 'I wouldn't be where I am today without you' - but in all seriousness, its true. I'm not looking to become famous from my little space online, but its such a lovely feeling looking at my stats and seeing that people have actually come by. Some of you leave lovely comments or I get to chat with people on social media. Its so nice to see people wanting to subscribe to the words I put out there, the utterly breath taking amount of support from passers by and other bloggers alike is just mad. 

This year I've finally got my arse on social media more and made so many lovely friends. I've felt very fancy and lucky getting to go to events and learning so much about all that is make up, skin care and even about sex toys. Speaking of, 2014 has been the year of sex for me! (eh, slightly poorly worded, I'm aware) I finally took the plunge and now identify proudly as not only a beauty, but also a sex blogger. Its been interesting seeing peoples reactions and getting fantastic conversations going about it. The Irish are not so shy about what they do in bed anymore and its so exciting to see the stereotype broken down! If that wasn't enough, I was even on the telly thanks to the sex part if blogging, lucky girl that I am.  

As Christmas is only a few days away and 2014 is coming to a close not long after, I've been thinking more about what I hope 2015 will bring and its exciting. I'll be going into my 4th year blogging and I want to make this one matter (not that I've not tired my very best in 2014 that is!). I'll be focusing a lot more on sex and relationships - the things I've lined up, oh god I'm even laughing at myself now! I want to continue with my first love, beauty and then with all that fun stuff, I'll just see what the year has in store for me. As for the social side, I want to hold another blogger event. This years #BloggersDoDublin was so much fun and a crazy rush to sort in under two weeks, I loved it! Working with brands was amazing and its one of the best parts of blogging (or just going crazy in Boots. Its important to get the extra shampoo for the points you see.. Cough).

So thank you to all who pop by, tweet me, follow the blog in some way and even those who stop me in shops to tell me they read my blog! (Meeting people IRL is scary stuff when you hide behind a computer all day long!) You are the special lads and ladies that make me want to sit my bum down and write about what I love. I hope that you all have a really lovely, safe and peaceful Christmas. And while I'm at it, a very happy new year with lots of good things packed into it. xxx

Friday 19 December 2014

Affordable Christmas Nails

Theres nothing worse then having awful looking nails when your trying to be all festive and stylish around this time of year. Or worse, your going to be shaking hands with people or get judged by in laws on every aspect of your appearance, relationship status and where are you on the job ladder. So while your desperately clinging to your wine glass, nodding frantically at your father in law and many aunts as he spouts something about the government (which you will have to slyly look up on your phone in a few) its nice to feel safe in the knowledge that theres one less thing that can be bitched about. And let me tell you, with only a few days until Christmas, ain't nobody got time for nail appointments. This ladies and gents, is a quick at home job for less then a fiver - but looks like it cost a bomb.

This is very simple, red is the way to go. No need to be getting abstract, its Christmas and you want to look effortlessly put together. Wet'n'Wild will be your saviours my good fellows, with Wild Shine in red red. It gives with just one quick coat, the most gorgeous bright red that rivals even the cutest red bows on the tree. It drys surprisingly fast, so you can slap it on while waiting for the kids to come out of school.. Or while your watching Corrie.

Next is a top coat of glitter, to get you up to speed with the season. Mega Rocks glitter nail colour in the shade waiting for my solo is so perfect paired with the red. I might have given myself a little pat on the back when I saw the finished results. This will take a little time to apply and dry, so do it when your not going to be running out the door 15 seconds later. What I find with this particular varnish is that it drys smooth. A lot of glitter polishes dry rough so I tend to apply a few layers of clear top coat over them, which takes extra time and can ruin the nail if too much is put on. With Mega Rocks I use one layer and it doesn't need anything else done to it. In my opinion its worth the time waiting for it to dry as theres less feckin' about with it. And would you look at that glittery golden and red beauty that is now your nails?!

Being very honest, I find that the 'cheaper' brands can be a little hit and miss especially when it comes to nail varnishes. I wasn't expecting amazing results with either of these and am really impressed with them. They only need one coat, look professionally done, don't chip for 3 days (and counting!) and for the two it coats under €5. I think I can safely say thats one less thing to have on your to do list, with a little extra in your pocket. And by that, I mean buy yourself a large bottle of wine, theres family to deal with and cooking to burn. Happy Christmas!

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

Thursday 18 December 2014

My Skincare Routine

My face is oily with a bit of a dry combo in the oddest of places and only sometimes. Basically its like me on my period. One day I love everyone and want to hug the entire world, 10 hours later I'm screaming like a banshee throwing knickers out the window. (Its happened more then I'm willing to admit.) So when it comes to skincare I have lots of different categories. Theres the slap all the tea tree things on my face its a bad break out category, the my skin is patchy dry and sad looking category and so on. This particular one is the taking off light make up at night and giving my skin a little perk up category. I say light make up because I've not included any eye make up removers or major amounts of different make up removers that are required after I've shoveled on about 3 tonnes of make up for the night out.

I've two uberly fancy ones here by Bioderma. I used to scoff at people with this brand - the price of this stuff is crazy. But when my sister went off to France and brought these back for me, who was I to question her. After all, its make up and skincare. Just give me all the things. You still can't get these in Ireland, but I know that Amazon and various sites will ship them. (Thank the holy cat in heaven.) First is the one everyone raves about, the micellar water. To be honest I can't really see anything different between this and say the garnier water, but it just happens to be the one I'm using at the minute. It takes off make up fine and cleans my face properly, without having to use a different product to get the remainders off (like I do with some products). 

The second Bioderma product is the moisturising cleansing milk thats just gorgeous. I don't care if its €2 or €20, when this runs out I'm going to frantically search online until I find somewhere that will send me another bottle. I've never had something thats been so gentle, moisturising and all round divine for my skin before. My sister actually gave this to me when she tired it and found it too oily for her skin, but it seems my skin drinks it up and never  gets extra greasy or more spotty. All of the wins happening in that bottle. (After just looking it up and its €19.95. Holy sweet mother of jesus it doesn't cost that much in lovely old France!)

If I'm looking for an extra bit of omph for my skin I'll use the Ziaja tea tree toner. Normally on days when my skin is having a bitch fit (what up White Chicks reference!) and it needs some calming down as this toner has spot fighting goodness in it. Its great for giving my skin a really good clean. 

If the bitch fit is continuing, I've been popping some Body Shop tea tree oil onto the infected areas. This stings a little and the smell can be overwhelming, but I have noticed a difference when using it. Not for everyday use personally, but maybe 3 times a week on the bigger face uglies or very sore ones.

I'm a long time fan of Germolene (now renamed bepantiseptic) and I smear it all over my mug. Leave it on over night and I can see visible results the next morning. My spots run off my face like I do when someone shouts '50% off!'. It surprisingly doesn't dry out my skin and it doesn't hurt or irritate me. Its the one thing that I would recommend every time if your looking to fight spots fast with results in a few hours, without a massive price tag.

When my under eyes are looking less then lovely, I use Simple roller. Its quick, makes my under eyes less dark looking, cooling and soothes the puffyness from lack of sleep. In general this yoke is something everyone with under eyes needs in their life. It was less then €6ish as well, which I think is a total bargain.

Lastly are some of my must have skincare saviors, Waxperts. These are an Irish brand and I'm proud to be banging on about them. Meant for keeping ingrown hairs at bay after saving or waxing, they are also amazing to use on your spots. One or two of these in your skincare routine and your sorted. Theres 40 pads in each tub and they last for ages. I've gone through loads of them but for some reason this is the first time I've mentioned them! Must be the best kept secret in beauty!

Thursday 11 December 2014

Fragrance Direct Haul

Its not often that I do online shopping, prefering to go and see the products in real life. But when there are all the deals to be had, it would be rude not to pick up a few bits. Most of what I have in this haul is things by the Body Shop and I've a bone to chew on here, I am a massive fan of their things, buying lots for myself recently along with a lot of Christmas presents for others. But the main issue is that their Irish site and in store there are never any sales or offers on the way there is on UK sites. Its such a pity as the euro prices of their things make it more of a luxury once in a blue moon buy. Its disheartening to read UK bloggers talking about the amazing 40% off deals they got. Alright then, rant is now over! 

The first thing that I set my sights on were the body butters. If your looking for just one thing to try out from the Body Shop then it has to be one of these. They are so wonderfully thick but easy to apply and sink into your skin making it beautifully soft only after one or two uses. I got mine in shea butter as its one of my favourite scents, I was delighted they had it! One of these tubs cost me £2.99.

I also picked up the tea tree oil thats just perfect for all the face uglies that are forever popping up on my mug. This was I think £0.99 compared to the guts of €10 so I was delighted to be able to try it out. Since getting the haul in the post, I've been using this loads and I have to say it works really well, I'd recommend it to anyone.

Years ago the Body Shop had a shampoo and conditioner with the scent of nettles. It wasn't for everyone but I really loved it. When they discontinued it I searched high and low online but never again could get it. Since then I've not been too interested in trying out anything hair care, but when I saw these little bottles for £2.99 I decided to pick up 2 each and give them a go. A regular bottle is €9.95 for the biggest bottle. I've not tried them out yet, but if I like them I'd consider forking out for them. I just love my hair care products! 

I also got a little tea tree skin clearing toner for £1.99 as I'm all about that spot fighting stuff. I'm still trying to find the holy grail products to finally work for my skin. And I've gone though bag loads, so fingers crossed this one might work for me. 

Again, all about the hair care. I love a good hair mask and this pantene one is something I've not had in years! I used to love it, but theres so many out there I kind of forgot all about it. For £1.99 I couldn't pass it up and I've used it once now. Its just as lovely as I remember.

Lastly I nabbed an Aussie spray leave in conditioner for coloured hair. I have gone though about 7 bottles of this stuff since being introduced to it years ago by a friend. Its perfect to throw in before heading off for the day, before bed, or just a quick spray to make brushing your hair easier. I'm a massive fan, but it can be about €6, so seeing this for £2.99 was a bargain. 

You'll be able to find most of what I've talked about above over on Fragrance Direct. But because lots are really cheap, things can sell out fast. Keep an eye on the site, they are always adding loads of new bargains!

Saturday 6 December 2014

Have Yourself A Merry Little Irish Christmas #BuyIrish

I bet your all sick to the feckin teeth of me banging on about buying locally and buying Irish. But when I find a company thats passionate about what they do, its hard to pass them by. Quality stuff that has some serious lovin' going on behind the scenes and shockingly enough, a lot of the time a single handily run business, Irish is the way to go. Sure why wouldn't you buy something gorgeous thats made almost right on your door step!?

With all the festive cheer thats happening this time of year I headed to the RDS National Crafts And Design Fair. I armed myself with 4 tinfoil sambos, 3 sets of warm tops, 2 sparkly sets of fingernails and 1 granny. I was set for the day to roam about and see what amazing things the good folk of Ireland had to offer me. Heres a little list of some quality things I found on the day and others I discovered online. Perfect pressies for all!

Avokado&Co: I just happened to stumble upon this site on the Twitters a while ago and my god I'm in love with everything on it. All 100% Irish, they make signs and other bits that have Irish saying on them. I think these would be a great gift for a loved one who might be over seas, as they are flat and easy to wrap and post. A little bit of home right on your wall. I want one of everything. Seriously, mammy!!

Chic Treat Box: Do you know a lady that has everything? Then a subscription to the Irish Chic Treat Club is just what you need for her! Each month she'll get something new to try, delivered right to her door. The gift that keeps giving! You'll be in the good books for ages after.

The Purple Pantry: I know lots of foodies, or even the odd friend who just really loves different jams. This company has everything a food lover could ask for, all bundled into gorgeous packaged boxes with purple ribbons! Yes, I'll take one of everything thank you very much. *grumbling tummy starts*

Daisy Chain Crafts: This lovely lady hails from Wicklow and is an utter delight to talk to. She makes the most beautiful soaps, candles, bath and body treats for next to nothing. Just mind blowing considering the time and effort thats put into everything! Make sure and give her a call or an email to see what lovely new sets she has especially for Christmas. You wont be sorry!

The Irish Fairy Door Company: I saw this on the LateLate Toy Show, but I was aware that they were taking little people of Ireland by storm. These are cute fairy doors that you apply to the skirting board in your house. Your little people can leave or receive gifts, letters and anything you would like. Their imagination runs wild - I've seen it happen lots with my little nieces and nephews. Big winner to get this Christmas for little ones.

Emmas So Naturals: Someone asked if this company pays me to talk about them and I promise you they don't! I just love them that much, that I talk about them all the time. I think these are some of the best Irish candles on the market and theres not one scent I don't love. I could talk about their limited edition Christmas scents for hours.

Holos: Niamh is the lady behind Holo Skincare. Its a recent discovery for me, but oh mammy I can't get over how beautiful her products are. There are the most lovely gift sets for daughters to grannies and even the men of your life! I can safely say, I'll be asking for a set or two from Santy this year. The facial oil I currently have is being got asap when it runs out!

Ambri Boards: This is the perfect thing to impress the in-laws with or the chef in your life. Irish crafted Irish wood chopping boards all the way from Kerry, one of my favourite places in Ireland. You can personalise them and there are gift sets too.

 Secrets Ireland: I bang on about Secrets like theres no tomorrow, but really how could you not love a good old Irish sex toy shop run single handedly by one lovely lady! Naturally not all these toys will be Irish, but supporting small Irish businesses instead of big companies is important. And the man or woman in your life will be thanking you too if they receive something sexy under the Christmas tree.

Blank Canvas Cosmetics: If you've not heard of this Irish company then you must be living under a rock. All the beautiful brushes and make up palettes you could ever dream of and all only a stone throw away from any part of Ireland. I personally have an eye shadow palette on my santy list this year! 

EmerMcLysaght Jewellery: Its not often I come by hand made jewllery that makes me stop and do a double take. Everything on this site is handmade by Emer who hails from Dublin. From leaf necklaces to top hat cufflinks, theres something for that very special man or woman in your life. I am in love with the lot. 

Nima Brushes: Some of the most gorgeous brushes that you'll ever come across are the Nima brushes. Owned by Irish gal Niamh Martin, you needn't look further then one of her beautiful sets. With so many to choose from, theres something for everyones pocket.

Paw Pals: These are a new Irish pet company. I always buy my pets a special something at Christmas and give friends pets a little present too - please tell me other do this too and I'm not totally mad! I thought the idea of different hampers was a brilliant idea! I'd love to get the cat one for my two.

Bia Beauty: A brand I regularly use and love, this lady is from Cork. She makes the most beautiful natural products you could want, all in beautifully presented gift boxes. Theres nothing I love more then the cleansing face scrub. Top quality and all Irish. 

Don't be afraid to ask when your in a shop or send a quick email online when you see something you like thats marked as Irish. How Irish is it really? Is everything that can be, from the little emerald isle? From the sticker to the lavender in the ingredients list sourced in Ireland. If your happy to just go by the sign or site information, then happy days. But if your into really supporting your local, then don't be afraid to question it. Most of the time people are delighted you've the interest in their products and are happy to tell you.

You can see my 20 stocking fillers under €20 over here. Theres lots of Irish brands there that haven't been mentioned in this gift guide, so have a gander!

Friday 5 December 2014

November Favourites

November has been the month of getting everything done before the madness of the Christmas rush. Its mostly worked quite well and now I can sit back and watch as everyone else panic buys socks and boxes of biscuits for loved ones. If your one of these people, do keep an eye out over the next week or so for different gift guides that I'll be posting up. There might be something for that one difficult aunt or brother that you can never get the right thing for.

I think its clear by now to see that I am a massive fan of candles, especially Irish ones that are made of only the good stuff. So you might be shocked to see that I have both Yankee candles and Emma So Naturals side by side this month. I'll tell you now, I used to be Yankees biggest fan and still buy them on occasion, but I've mostly used Christmas Cookie because it was a present and himself was giving out I wasn't using it. But also because I broke my beloved Emmas one - drink and candles do not go hand in hand, just let me say that now. Surprisingly enough, it lit for the photos and then died on me altogether not long after I went to pick out the pictures of this post. Little fecker, such a poser that Masala Chai. Luckily enough though, I picked up the largest candle size of this scent yesterday, so I am one happy camper. Have a read of the Emmas candles collection over here.

I know last month I featured this Christian Breton lipstick in the shade speak easy, but holy god its that good I had to include it again. I have never before got so many compliments as I do when wearing this. Its such a gorgeous purple colour and is something that I can't seem to find in any other collections. It lasts all day with the help of a lip pencil and adds serious attitude to any look. I'd put money on me finishing this lipstick before Spring - and I've never finished a lip product before. You can get this from The Cosmetic Outlet on Meath Street for €10. Just in time for the Christmas stocking, or a treat for yourself.

The Body Shops White Musk was every girls fragrance at some stage in her teens, but they brought out the more mature smoky rose scent last year. This month it has been my go to scent thats perfect for a little something heavier in the winter months. Again, I've had loads of people sniffing me and asking what it is. My bottle has been well loved and I can see myself getting it again once it runs out. Its not breaking the bank either considering its perfume and from the sometimes over pricey Body Shop. One for the wish list!

Glitter. All of the magical glitter that is allowed at this time of year. And because I don't do things halfheartedly, every single nail had to have Models Own top glitter coat, that doesn't actually have a name or number on it oddly! I am such a big fan of glitter and would wear it all year round if it wasn't so hard to take off my nails. This one is under Barry M Chai. 

Next is a bit of a surprise one for me. My Sleek vintage romance palette that I got back in October. I've been using all the colours in this, which I never thought I'd do. The pinks and purples are well out of my comfort zone but I decided to throw caution to the wind and slap it all over my eye balls for a lot of this month. I feckin love how pigmented these palettes are and the gorgeous selection you get in each one. Theres both shimmers and mattes in this, but the glitter has to always be caked on when I do it! How can you not have glitter when its acceptable to? This was €9.99 in Boots for 12 shades, a brush and a massive mirror. Bargain if I ever saw one.

Next is my lovely *Paese bamboo powder that I have become very attached to. I was so surprised when I started using this, a little on when first doing my make up to set the lot and that was it for the day. Normally I'm having to touch up my setting powder through out the day, but I hardly ever need to with this one. Its total magic I'm telling you! The one downside is that its loose so if your not careful it can go everywhere. (Or if your me, you'll accidentally inhale some and ruin your eye make up coughing and making your eyes stream. Sexy, right?) You can see my full review and more of the Paese range here. 

Lastly two of my most used things to date. I've had a long affair with Soap&Glory, but when their Orangeasm collection was launched I considered marriage. I've been using this body wash since I got it back in October and I've not fallen out of love with it yet. Using it every single day with 2 or 3 pumps and its only now hit the half way mark. Theres some gorgeous S&G sets out for Christmas that I have been begging for. I need them all in my life - and I'm just out of their body scrubs too. Perfect timing to stock up again! (Are you listening santy?)

My sister introduced me to a bundle of French brands after she went jet setting to France with her other half for a week. She came home weighted down with skin care and goodies for me to try. I'll tell you now, the sisterly bond was strong that day. This Bioderma cleansing milk is one she passed to me when she found it wasn't working for her skin. After trying it out for the entire month I'm almost booking her tickets back to France to buy more. This takes off the most caked make up, mascara (- but not Benefits They're Real. Feckin nothing gets that cray stuff off.) and all the most pigmented lipsticks going. I really love it and its not once irritated my skin. I've not looked this up as I really don't want to ruin the dream and find out how expensive it is, or how difficult it is to get in Ireland. But as its now two thirds gone, I'll have to burst my bubble soon. 

Thats it for me now. I'm sorry about the crappy blogging I've been doing in the last few weeks. If its not the awful light, its the lack of time! Speaking of light, apologises for the utterly horrendous light in this post. I've had nothing but weeks of poor lighting and said feck it yesterday. Downsides of the winter season!