Saturday 31 January 2015

Empties #8


I had to have a look back over my old posts to see when I last posted one of these empties posts. It felt like only yesterday but apparently it was way back in November! Doesn't time fly when your having fun slapping things onto your skin and hair. 

First thing that I was sad to finish was the two Bioderma's. I used the mini one for oily and combination skin over Christmas when I was away and although this one is better suited for my skin type, I found the big pink bottle for sensitive skin better. When my sister heads back to France I'll definitely be asking her to pick up some Bioderma products for me, but I also think that any other cleansing waters are just as good as these and I'm not really sure where the hype for these products come from. 

I'm not going to say too much about my much loved Bia Beauty cleaner and exfoliator right now. I've bought another of these dinky pots and have a post coming up about it next week. (I promise I actually do, I just took some photos for it!)

The last thing in my skincare empties is an old packaging bottle of Soap&Glory's Peaches and Clean. I found it really hard to get the last of the product from this, so theres minus points for loosing product. But I actually prefer Soap&Glory's other hot cloth cleanser/make up cleanser as it doesn't have such a strong scent, it comes in a tube so you can get all the product and its more gentle to my skin. I doubt I'll be getting this Peaches and Clean again.


Two of my favourite shampoo brands, Garnier Ultimate Blends and also Aussie are always popping up in my empties posts. I consider leaving them out, but I don't want anyone to think that I've stopped using them! Its always good to recommend what you love, so apologies to those who regularly read my blog. If you've not tried either of these shampoo's or conditioners then you need to put them on the to get lists!

I had some mini's on the go over the past two months and I've not too much to report on any of them. I got some Body Shop Rainforest shine shampoo and conditioner from fragrance direct to try out before forking over almost €10, but I'm not taken with it. It does the job but not any better then the much cheaper brands you can find in Tesco or Boots. I wont be getting a full size. The same goes for the Great Lengths shampoo, I think I got it on one of my subscription boxes months ago. It was fine to pop in my bag, but nothing special that would make me buy a full size. 

The new Herbal Essence conditioner is the only one pictured here, as I had thrown out the shampoo bottle by accident, but I did a review about the new range and spray over here.

Then of course theres something form Lush. I will buy Daddyo shampoo every few months when I feel that my hair is lacking in the colour department and this shampoo perks up the colour, taking away any brassy tones and leaving it shiny, a lovely colour and smelling like violets! Its a small bottle but you only need a little and you don't have to use it daily either to get results.


Theres nothing much to say about this pile apart from I buy them all regularly and love them. I've talked in many monthly favourite posts about my love affair for Herbal Essences dry shampoo. Hair removal cream and Nivea roll on deodorant (the best one ever in my opinion) are both €1.49 from deals, bargain! The only thing that I wont be getting again from this pile is the Boots own brand nail varnish remover. It smells so bad and takes massives amounts of product in order for it to work. I picked up nail varnish remover in a pot from Dealz that works much better for next to nothing.

The candle is a gorgeous vanilla one that I've had for a few years. It only gets used on special occisions as I loved the smell too much and didn't want to waste it. Theres no sticker on it so I can't find where to buy it again and the shop (Evolution in the GPO arcade) doesn't sell them anymore. Very sad to see this one go.


Lastly is some sort of advertisement for Seventeen! I think its fair to say that I'm a big fan of the brand and I especially love their new Stay Time foundation (my 5th bottle) and the phwoarr paint concealer (easily my 12th). Theres nothing to say about them apart from try them all out because they are normally on offer in Boots and so cheap. 

Another little thing from Lush is the Charity Pot cream that smells amazing. For €1 that goes towards charity, I always pick up a little pot when I'm in Lush as they are so easy to keep in your hand bag. And the smell is so nice too. I have bundles of them floating about!

Thursday 29 January 2015

W7 Mascara, Dupe For Benefit They're Real?


We all love a good dupe for things that can be really pricey, but let me just tell you that you'd have to pry my beloved Benefit mascara from my cold dead hands if you wanted it. They're Real is one of the only high end make up items that I will happily fork out for and god forbid it should ever run out on me before I can get a replacement. So when I tried w7's *Absolute Lashes mascara, I wasn't expecting much from it. It may look like the real thing, but looks can be deceiving. So it was only after so serious testing out and trying all the tricks in the book can I report what I've found to you guys and gals. 

So first of all, its obvious that both tubes look more or less the same. They are both the same size and length and when the plastic wands are put side by side, again you can't see a lot of difference. Benefits brush has less bristles and therefore looks prettier and more structured. W7's brush is the tiniest bit longer with more bristles, which made me think it would apply a lot more messily. 


The formula of Benefit is thicker, when applied I tend to only use one coat as its thick and covers all my lashes. It makes my lashes hard once dry and stays put all day, with a little fall out if I'm honest. When I go to take it off at night I will spend a good 5 minutes scrubbing at my eyes to get it all removed. Anyone whose tried They'e Real seems to have this issue, it taking an unreal amount of time to get off.

W7's formula seems to not be as thick, so when I apply it I use about 3 coats. It surprised me as it doesn't flake during the day and there was never any fall out, unlike my much loved Benefit. As for taking it off, its a total breeze. I only need to take a few seconds to get it off, even if I have a lot of layers on. 

Together I noticed that Benefit doesn't separate my lashes, leaves clumps on them and makes them feel crispy, unlike the W7 mascara that makes them like there still my lashes and not crispy or stiff. As you can see from the (horrible makeupless!) photos below, I think its clear to see what I'm on about. I used one coat for each eye and didn't brush or fix my lashes in any way after I applied the product. As you can see, I think that you need less product with Benefit, but way more time to separate, fix and then get it off later. With the W7 you need to apply more coats, but the lashes aren't clumped and you need less time to take it off. I accidentally rubbed my eyes with both mascaras on and noticed that I had a noticeable black mark on my Benefit hand. The same when I was taking a shower (I forgot I had mascara on, the dope that I am). When I got out of the shower, I had a panda eye on my Benefit side.  


My overall thoughts? I don't say it lightly, but I'm genuinely surprised that such a cheap product could outdo Benefit. For something thats €26 in Boots or at Benefit stands, I'm delighted that W7 would only set me back €3.50 -€5, depending on where you pick it up. - Places like Cara Pharmacy in Ireland. I'm going to finish up my They're Real, but then I doubt I'll be buying it again, instead sticking to the cheap, cheerful and better w7 Absolute Lashes mascara!

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

Sunday 25 January 2015

Sexual Sunday: Ann Summers O'Connell St.





Ann Summers is something of an institution and I hesitated to write about it this week. This isn't some small stand alone business like the other sex shops in Dublin. This has marketing campaigns, PR women and hundreds of employees, so why try to rate and talk about such a huge company. And to answer my own question, I'm not too sure. But why leave out a sex shop and why not talk about my somewhat bias personal dislike to the brand? Its Sexual Sunday after all -If your new, read my first post here and maybe last weeks, here.

Appearance of the outer shop: 3 1/2 stars - Its nothing amazing, but not uninviting either.

Appearance of the inner shop: 4 1/2 stars - space, light and the toys are at the back.

Friendliness and helpfulness of staff: 3 stars - knowledgeable but overbearing. 

Price range of toys: 4 stars - Something for everyone (even if the toy quality is questionable).

Selection of products/Specialists: 2 stars - Nothing you can't buy anywhere else.

Like with any other press/blogger, Ann Summers staff will never give an interview and always suggest you talk to their pr - who never get back to you. So all the thoughts today are my own. Ann Summers is one of the most well known sex shops in Dublin purely as its a big brand that does those horrible parties (pet peeve) and is parked right on O'Connell street. Its not incredibly offensive in its outer presentation as there are never any toys on display, only posters of women wearing lingerie or manikins draped in the latest offerings. When you walk inside your met with a large, well lit and well laid out space to shop. All the knicker and bra sets dominate the front of the shop, along with the security guard. Towards the back there is what can only be described as a circle stand that you walk into and can see the selection of toys. I must admit, I really like this part, you can't be seen from the front of the shop and everything they have to offer is more or less right in front of you in a smaller space. No trekking from one side of the shop to the other with your arm full of toys. 

However the moment you walk to the back to browse their selection, you are pounced on by staff asking if you need anything, want something explained or to hear the offers of buying three toys and getting a free lube for your trouble. I can't abide this type of sales and a lot of shops do it, but when selling toys I find this off putting and it almost makes me want to throw my hands in the air screaming ''I wasn't looking at sex toys, I'm sorry!''. If it makes me want to do that after I regularly march into sex toy shops, what would it make a first time or nervous buyer do? Not cool Ann Summers, not cool. 

Image source: www.irishmirror.ie
The selection of toys is alright if your looking simply for a dildo or bullet-like vibrator. With Rabbit being one of their only well known brand names along with the - moment for face palm - 50 Shades of Grey, the rest were all Ann Summers own brand. I've not had a lot of experience with their own brand, so to be fair I couldn't pass comment without properly having tried some out first. (Maybe I'll get to this in a separate Sexual Sunday post another time.) But if your looking for joke toys or something plain, then there is a lovely selection of lingerie to choose from, fluffy handcuffs and a long list of different flavoured lube, some anal toys, soft bondage kits and a few cock rings. They don't do any specialist toys, preferring to cater to the masses of what will sell. 

One thing that I noticed and had me scratching my head over was the selection of  'little pills' that are meant to increase stamina and so on. They have them in the O'Connell street shop and also have them listed on their UK but not Irish sites. You can see them over here. I'm wondering why they can sell them or what the legal side of it is, considering last week the staff in Secret Paradise was telling me that guards come in occasionally to check there not being sold. Clearly I'm not doing my homework and need to start looking into these things (Promise I'll update this section when/if I find out the answers.)

Overall I can see why theres such a pull to this shop. Its female friendly and has the excuse that you were only going in to buy some knickers, perfectly acceptable. Theres also the plus that its an all female staff - well there was the times I've gone in anyway. A lot of sex shops have an all male staff as women don't tend to work there for one reason or another. For example I knew a girl who quit after a month because she would get asked inappropriate questions or be hassled by teens passing by and coming in to cause a fuss. Ann Summers is a safe place to shop and even their online shops have a huge selection of things that don't look intimidating unlike other shops. It bothers me slightly that some would rather shop in here because it doesn't have the kink element of a regular sex shop, so your going to be spared the 'shock, horror' products. But then again, each to their own. Personally one of my very first sex toys was bought from here, so I can't judge at all!

Saturday 24 January 2015

Penneys Haul


Just a quick little haul posy today. I surprised myself and didn't buy a stitch of clothing when I went in, which is really unlike me! I follow Penneys on Instagram and a lot of the time love things that they put up but can never find them in the shop when I go in. Sometimes they end up being only sold in the UK and other times they haven't been released yet. It can be a real pain in the arse.

I was in the home ware section looking for some new face clothes and found 3 for €2.50 which will keep me going for a good while. I've started to use cream cleansers again to take off my make up and couldn't find any of my face clothes. While I was down there I spotted stars. I'm a big fan of stars and have started to replace all my bed sheets so when I saw this white and blue star fitted sheet for €6 I had to pick it up. 

I never go into Penneys without passing the make up section and I spotted a reduced P.S love lace perfume from €7 to €3. I had a sniff and decided that even if I got only a few uses out of it, it wasn't going to be a waste considering it was such a bargain.


I've hunted for a few weeks and finally found that little star and triangle necklace, I think its just gorgeous and was only €2. I was also on the look out for the make up brush cleaner that everyone and their mammies have been on about for the past while. There were lots in stock at the Penneys on Henry St if your looking yourself! This was only €2.50 and I'm looking forward to having a go to see if its any good. Pennys own brand P.S are coming out with loads of exciting things and next on the list of things to try out is their lipsticks and maybe a nail varnish.

The last thing I had my eye out for was a nail varnish that I saw online a few weeks ago. I couldn't remember the brand but I think it was this one from Catrice. If it wasn't I'm still happy that I picked up this lovely shade. Its called 46 berry potter and plumbledore - someone at Catrice is a potter fan! This was about €3.


Have you gotten any bargains in Penneys recently?

Thursday 22 January 2015

Soak And Float Shampoo Bar


Unintentionally it seems that January has become the month of Lush. I think I might have gotten a little too excited about Christmas and bought more then I was meant to. In fairness this particular product has been on the go with me for the past few months and I'm only getting to tell you about it now. (The fancy reason could be that I wanted to save the gem, the actual reason is that I normally have a new one gooy and have used before I remember that I wanted to take nice photos of it. Whats a dope like me to do!)

The not so sexy truth is that I sometimes suffer with patches of sore and irritated skin on my scalp. I'm not sure if its dandruff or if its eczema (- although I do suffer with that on my hands and arms) but whatever it is, it can be hard to find a shampoo that helps to calm the irritation while not messing up my hair. Anyone who dyes their hair, especially dyes that are different or neon shades will know how hard it is to keep it bright without products making it fade. I love my XXL Live dye, its long lasting and a gorgeous colour, but what I've found through a lot of trial and error is Lush shampoo is the way to keep it bright. Lush is one of the only brands I've found that wont strip the colour, while actually actively doing something at the same time.

No harsh chemicals to mess with the shade and things like cade oil, rose and marigold petals are all wonderful for soothing the scalp and reducing dandruff, eczema and a general sore head. While the ingredients list sounds fantastic, I'm not going to lie. It smells absolutely horrible. Not a lot of the Lush solid shampoo bars smell great, but they all work very well and so because of that, I can't slate them. But its something to mention as it nearly put me off buying it the first time, before I knew how well it worked. I tend to put in some dry shampoo to cover the smell for my own nose, or put in a little conditioner. But considering this is my 4th bar, so in the long run it can't be that bad!

This isn't my first Lush solid shampoo bar, I'm a long time fan of the lovely Seanik (one of the only nice smelling ones in my opinion!) and I have my eye on the newest additions the the line, namely Honey I Washed My Hair. Mmm, can you imagine the lovely smell of your head after a go of that!? These bars are over €7 which isn't actually not that bad when you wonder around Boots. Not only that, but this can last up to 2 months with me even though I wash my hair daily. I would totally recommend Soak And Float if your head is a little tender, or any Lush shampoos for those who don't fancy getting their colour stripped from their hair.

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Ziaja's Bioderma Dupe


The sister fluttered off to France a few months ago and came home laden with things from the famous City-Pharma. Holy jesus it was like Christmas when she text me and sent Whatsapp photos of the shelves, discussing what we had seen talked about on blogs and what we would love to try out. One of the things she picked up for herself was the Bioderma moisturising cleansing milk with 250ml, but ended up giving it to me after she decided it wasn't for her. Thankfully I fell straight in love with it.

Come forward a few months later and I'm almost at the end of my now can't-live-without Bioderma. But after I try and find it online, I realise its about €20 to buy without shipping. It wasn't that price in France! So I do what only a dedicated crazy beauty addict can do, I go buying all and every cleaning milk I can get my hands on. One of the many many bottles had to do the job, or so I was hoping. Clearly there is a skincare god as I happened to be in a chemist picking up some repurchases of Ziaja when I chanced my arm and bought this aloe cleansing milk that was under €5 - bargain. 

This is a 200ml bottle of aloe scented cream, with a toner and a moisturiser in the same scent. It is meant to 'sooth, balance skin moisture and control oily secretions' while also being really gentle to my skin that can act up a lot. Its so gentle in fact, that I can use it to remove my eye make up - oh yeah I'm that lazy. It does just what the Bioderma does and feels the same, but with more then half the price tag. This was the only cleansing milk that I could find stocked in the chemist, but from the site here you can see that there are many more scents and creams for different skin issues available.  

One slight difference I've noticed between the two is that the Ziaja sinks into my skin quicker and better then the Bioderma. Not to say that my beloved Bioderma isn't great, but it tends to sit on my skin and I feel like after I use it. I always need to use a toner to get rid of the excess cream and oil like feel, whereas I could use the Ziaja cleansing milk as a stand alone product. So, with all that in mind will I be picking up the Bioderma soon? No, are you mad? Theres an amazing cleansing milk for less then €5 from a brand that I am finding I'm using more and more. When I found how good this was, I actually got on the phone to friends to rave - and give out about the price of that feckin lovely but very dear Bioderma.

So, you don't need a credit card or a plane ticket to get amazing skincare. Just head to your local chemist and see if they stock Ziaja. Read my review on Ziaja cocoa body scrub here.

Tuesday 20 January 2015

My 2014 Favourties


Yeah so the first month of 2015 has nearly come to an end and I'm only getting around to doing this now. Honest to got, some things never change. Just to note, I'd like to say sorry as the photos are all a little off colour. Theres nothing worse then the winter light not letting up and the three times that I retook these photos, they have all been far too dark. But sure, the show must go on. This is a feckin massive list of my all time favourite things of 2014. Some things immediately came to mind and then some things I had to narrow down, it wasn't easy!


First I want to talk about hair. Its one of the things that is a part of my personality and I'm always trying new things in it. Surprisingly, shampoos get me excited the same way a new eye shadow palette would, or a cake. Aussie 3 minute miracle is one of my most loved conditioner, theres nothing as quick or effective to make my hair feel amazingly soft. It smells really lovely as well. I've gone through countless bottles of this goodness. Not pictured, but something that I had to add in is the Garnier ultimate blends shampoo and conditioners. They are so lovely and when they are on offer I love to stock up.

Herbal Essences dry shampoo is my top dry shampoo of the year. I go through loads of this stuff and love it. It doesn't have the white residue that some dry shampoos leave in your hair and it really helps reduce the grease in my hair. Lastly is my favourite purple hair dye, Live XXL. I think I keep these lads in business, I've bought so much of these tubes this year! It lasts such a long time in your hair, even with my daily washing it.  


Next is skincare and the first thing that came to mind when I thought of this catagory was my Vaseline spry and go moisturiser. Theres no waiting around for it to dry in or taking too much of the product in one go. You just spray it on quickly, give it a little rub and boom, your ready to go - well put on clothes first, of course. To help keep my face from falling to bits I love to use Green Angel seaweed daily face cream. It smells lovely, is so moistursing and you only need the tiniest amount to do your full face, so this will last ages. Himself is a big fan of it too, so I'd say the men in your life might appreciate this if your looking for a unisex gift that you might be able to 'borrow' a little now and again. You can read the full review of it over here.

Two Lush things that have to get a mention, keeping all my face uglies at bay are Grease Lightening and of course my much loved Mask of Magnaminty. Both of these help to keep my spots under control when used regularly. Theres nothing negative I can think to say about either of these, they are just perfect! Natural stuff that doesn't smell awful or hurt my fussy skin. 

Lastly is my all time favourtie perfume, the Body Shop White Musk Smoky Rose. When I first got this to try out I wasn't sure about it, it was nice but not something I'd use everyday. But now I've grown to love it and I have to have it in my handbag, just in case. I'm coming close to the end of this bottle and hope to get a new one asap. Running out just isn't an option!


I've read a lot of books and comics in 2014 and although I have so many new favourites, the two that stand out the most have to be Sex Criminals - that I did a full post on over here. And then The Good Girl that I did a review of over here. I'd blab on about them non stop, but I think this is a really long blog post without adding to it! 


Sleek has been one of my most loved make up brands in 2014. I've just started to use their blushers, (instead loving my Benefit one, full post over here)but the eyeshadow palettes and my overused but much loved contor kit has been my go to all year. I did a full blog post on it here, but I think since then I've fallen even more in love with it!

Another go to for the year has been my Wet'n'Wild Comfort Zone palette. Its cheap as chips and has so many highly pigmented colours in it, I just love how handy it is to throw in my bag, without having to worry if it gets a bit bashed. I a full post with swatches over here.


You would want to have been blind not to notice my new found love for Emmas Soy Candles this year. There are so many to choose from, they don't effect my asthma and they are an Irish brand. They just tick all the right boxes. Family and friends got these as Christmas presents, with much happy camper feedback!

Three nail varnishes that I've used non stop were by Paese - review here. Its the perfect red. My lovely mustard Barry M review here and my favourite from the entire new collection by Max Factor - review here.


Out of all my toys, this year Doxy has stolen my heart. I did a full review on it over here, but I'll save you the hassle of reading it - just go order it right now!


I've never fully understood people going on about products that would be desert island things to take with them. That was until I tried Ziaja Rose Butter, This is something I found about half way through the year after finding the brand stocked in a chemist on Talbot St. I picked it up as I was looking for something new to try and I'm so glad I did. Theres nothing as nice as the feeling of really clean, fresh and soft skin. Not only does it work total wonders, it smells pretty good too. I thought it would be too harsh when I felt the sand like texture, but it hasn't once hurt my sensitive skin. Ziaja is one of those brands you need to buy if you see.

Nimue rejuvenating mask is one of my favourite high end masks of 2014. But something that is much more budget friendly and works just as well is the Simple one. I've nothing to say about these, other then every time I have a bath or a bad day, then one of these gets slapped on my face and I feel so much better.


Lastly is my favourite make up. Reds were big for me this year, especially my Wet'n'Wild balm stain and my Inglot lipstick. I did a full review of some Inglot lip products over here. When theres a strong lip, there has to be some strong black eyelashes and flicks! Benefit They're Real and a bargain Collection extreme felt tip eyeliner for €3.99 are, dare I say my all time favourites. 

Everyone and their mammy needs to know about the Hero Brush. I only found it in October but its not left my side since. Its one of my most read posts in 2014 too I'm glad to say. Its an Irish make up artists brand and I honestly need to buy more of them. In love, have a look at the full review here. - Not to mention seeing photos of it clean, sorry!

And whats the point of having an amazing foundation brush if you don't have a lovely foundation to use with it! Seventeens Stay Time is my all time favourite foundation this year. Its full coverage, in a light shade that actually matches my skin tone and lasts a surprisingly long time. I think this is about my 4th or 5th bottle and nothing else that I've tried has compared to it. Seventeen are on fire with their new products that came out in 2014! Can't wait to see what they have in store for the rest of the year.

Sunday 18 January 2015

Sexual Sunday: Secret Paradise Temple Bar



If your not up to date on my weekly series, check out my first post over here. Once inside the shop, I asked the guy behind the counter if he would mind answering a few questions for me and although he said that the owner of the shop talking to me was very doubtful, he was extremely obliging and helpful. I couldn't have asked for nicer. This is a mixture of my own impression along with nuggets of wisdom from the staff member. If you fancy a more in depth interview question/answer kind of post, feel free to comment, tweet me or email to bigblondegirl1@gmail.com.

Appearance of the outer shop: 2 stars - being generous.

Appearance of the inner shop: 4 stars - offer coffee and a comfy chair, I may stretch to a 5.

Friendliness and helpfulness of staff: 5 stars - is it possible to give it a 6?

Price range of toys: 3 1/2 stars - I'm surprisingly happy with this one.

Selection of products/Specialists: 3 stars - nothing specialist, but there is a video booth.

Approaching this shop, I was armed with hand sanatizer and balls of steel. Its not exactly in the category of those seedy blue shop windows with the flashing 'adult store' that scatters some of Dublin, but from the outside it didn't look far off. With the words 'Luxury Adult Store'  boasting to be 'Dublins finest adult store'  plastered overhead, I wasn't sold one bit. The window normally offers a scantly clad manikin, although this particular day she was nowhere to be seen. With some poor lighting, lots of wires visibly hanging, dusty 50 Shades Of Grey offerings and some lingerie posters, the shop front didn't inspire much in me.

Image Source: Yelp - Old images

From the outside you can't see into the shop as there is a curtain and the door is reflective, which gives a nice bit of privacy to anyone who might be shopping. There is also a buzzer to press if you want to gain access to the shop, all standard things to any sex shop worth its salt. As I waited for someone to open the door, I was surrounded by people waiting at the bus stop directly outside the shop entrance - although something to note for nervous shoppers, a few odd glances didn't put me off.  Once inside I was welcomed by a large room with bright overhead lights, shiny wooden floors and lots of space to browse the rows of products. You could have knocked me over with a feather, I was so surprised. The saying looks can be deceiving came to mind.

Making a quick note of what was stocked, the prices and quality of brands, I can safely say this is one decent shop. Tanga, We Vibe and Doc Johnson are just some of the big brands to grace the shelves which impressed me. They are, for the most part 'standard' prices, theres no competitive pricing here, but no extortion rates either. Apart from name brands they also stock some fetish, clothing, shoes, magazines and a large selection of porn dvds. In Ireland its illegal to sell porn dvds, but 99% of sex shops still stock them and for the most part, the guards turn a blind eye to it being more interested in targeting the sale of potential drugs and erection pills. - This shop does however sell skins and grinders for weed, which is common for sex shops and not illegal. I'm very anti drugs though, so this is a negative thing for me.

Image Source: Yelp - Old images

Not being a specialist shop for toys or fetish, but the creme dela creme was what I found near the back, a 'video booth'. Theres not a lot of these in Dublin, so it is definitely worth a mention. I asked the lovely staff member to talk me through what it was all about, as I've only seen free porn from the internet and wasn't aware there was a market for such things. He told me that it was mostly gay men who used it and were regular customers. You pick a dvd from the shop floor and then bring it into the booth. They are not unlike those little photo booths that you get your passport photos taken in. Sit down, close the door, put in the dvd and pay a small fee before it starts playing. Personally I was itching for the hand sanatizer again, so I didn't dwell too long on the topic. 

Apart from the god-awful shop front, the other thing that really bothers me is the shops online presence. They have both Twitter and Facebook although inactive, I can somewhat forgive it. What bugs the hell out of me is the half arsed job of a website. Poor quality stock, half finished web pages, flashing side bar advertisements and poor layouts, this isn't worth your time looking at. Unfortunately for those of you who are hoping to find something decent shopping online, this site isn't the one for you. If you fancy scoffing with me, here is the site.

Image Source: Yelp - Old images

I was told that any of the 3 male staff are happy to answer questions, get in any items for people they might not already stock and discreetly ship them to you at a price throughout Ireland only. If you do buy something in the shop, there is the option of a black plastic bag or leopard print, both impossible to see into. There are plans in the pipe line to expand this business into a second shop in Dublin, with a focus on the video booths, which I'm excited to hear about. Any way of offering 'Catholic Ireland' the chance to let its hair (and trousers) down for a bit of harmless fun is always something I can support. 

Thursday 15 January 2015

Lush, Rub Rub Rub


I think by now we can all safely agree that Lush is a way of life for me. I'm not in love with all things Lush, so when I bang on about something and say its just as good as sliced bread, its worth giving it a sniff/poke/slathering on yourself next time you pass by a shop. Today its all about Rub Rub Rub, or Rub as he likes to be called for short (little sexy devil that he is!). This is a shower scrub that can be used for body and hair. Its a bright blue salty goo in a tub of love. 

Theres nothing I don't think is just great about this, even the fact that its a total dupe for Lush's more pricey Big Shampoo. I am a long time fan of Big, but at €15 I can't be shalping it all over my hair daily and have been paying close attention to Rub for the past few months, intrigued to see if it might be as good as the shampoo, while being a little easier on the purse! Normally when I go to Lush its to pick up another bath melt or a face mask, so branching out to something else can take a bit of building up to. I'm sorry that I waited so long though, as Rub is just as lovely as Big shampoo with the added bonus of it being a multi use product.


Rub is mainly marketed as a shower scrub, and what a wonder it is to have in the shower with you. This is stuffed with mineral rich sea salt - a great antiseptic as well as an exfoliater. It has lemon juice and that will add shine to your hair and has jasmine and orange flower that will leave you smelling divine. I think this is the perfect all in one product to have during the cold months as it not only scrubs away all the nasty dry skin and goo while being oh-so-gentle, but I feel it also moisturises in the process. I'm not saying that its better then putting on a cream if you have very dry skin, but you can get away with it when your skin only needs a touch of hydration. In short, it means no freezing your arse off when you get out of a warm shower and have to rub in cold moisturiser, then wait for it to soak into your skin. All the bonus points in the world, right!? Its saved me from many cold naked dances. 

And if you fancy a little bit more of a good aul hard scrub, don't wet your skin before using it and when your done wash it off in the shower. I find that I rotate the wet and dry skin routine depending on if I have been using thick creams. I would say this would be a great one for taking off fake tans as well, while keeping your skin lovely and soft. So if your in the market for a unisex multi tasking product that lasts surprisingly well, then Rub is the guy for you at €10.50 for a 330g tub.

Monday 12 January 2015

New Herbal Essences Clearly Naked Collection


I'm a long time fan of Herbal Essence, I remember when I was in primary school I would always insist that my mom bought me the purple 2in1 bottle with the dark green lid. I must admit, I still prefer the old bottles to the fancy looking new ones, I don't seem to like change very much! But change and new things are the way to go which brings me to Herbal Essences newest edition to the family, the *Clearly Naked Collection.

There are three different categories in the collection; Volume, Shine and Moisture. Each has a shampoo and conditioner but Volume also includes a dry shampoo and Shine has a shine mist spray. Whatever style your hair is looking for, it seems that HS has you covered. I tried out the shine range that is meant to give you sleek and shiny hair that you want everyone to admire and touch. Its something that every girl and guy will crave at some point! Not only does it do the job of washing and cleaning your hair, but this range has zero parabens, silicones or dyes so you know that your hair isn't going to be damaged or stripped from use. 


Personally I've not noticed my hair being stripped of its colour, something thats very easy to see as I have bright colours through it. Unfortunately I can't use many shampoos or conditioners as they strip all the colour with only a few uses, so it was lovely to be able to try something new on my hair safe in the knowledge that I wouldn't be running out to buy more dye after washing my hair. The scent of this range is a mixture of grapefruit, green tea and mint, although the only smell I can detect is mint thats a little overpowering in the shower as your hair is still wet. Once its dry, the scent isn't as strong but pleasantly lingers all day so you feel like you've only stepped from the shower. 

I have been using these for the past few weeks and have noticed that my hair is in really good condition, being shiny and soft to the touch. However I'm not so sure about the shine mist spray. I'm not a fan of using these in general as I see them being a bit pointless and my bias opinion carried to this product. However I think someone with curly or unruly hair would really love this product as it tames frizz and helps to detangle, while still giving the supposed shine. My straight hair just didn't like this, nor did it really have a purpose other then to add in an extra product to make me feel a little fancier.



You can find these in Boots or all good chemists. Boots stock the 200ml shampoo and conditioner for €3.19 each and a lot of the HS products are on offer at the moment too, so it would be rude not to go in for a nosy at the offers!

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

Sunday 11 January 2015

Sexual Sunday: Grand Tour of Dublin


A new year means a few improvements and it comes in the form of Sexual Sunday. Since starting to write about all things sex on the blog, they have been scattered over the months with no real structure. So this year any toy reviews or topics I think could come under this heading will always be posted on a Sunday - it makes for easier searching too.

The main topic that I'd like to talk about will be my grand tour of Dublin posts. I want to wonder the city of Dublin week by and and give you an in depth account of each sex shop I visit. Why do this you ask? Well, to start with there are so many sex toy shops in Dublin, its just crazy that so many people aren't aware of them. And secondly you can price compare online and perhaps email the company directly without having to come face to face, but in the real world there is a shop door you must walk through. There will be people who work there and even a few customers who will all give you a passing glance - just to see who has walked in, like people do in any other shop. Its a scary thing, so I want to make it easier by playing guinea pig and doing all the hard stuff for you. Who knows, if this goes well maybe I can take tourists around in the summer and entitle it as 'The Tour Of Dublin Sex Shops'. I think it would be a smashing success. For each shop I will have several categories that will be judged from 1 to 5 stars, and explained below like so:

Appearance of the outer shop: No one is going to want to step into a shop thats unappealing or looks a little dodge. This applys to both sexes, but as a woman I am bias and can feel preyed on at times, walking into a shop with bondage gear in the window and dildos popping out from all corners can give a certain impression.

Appearance of the inner shop: I know some sex shops have vases of flowers and bright inviting wallpaper that is covered in strap ons, while others are dark, cramped and the floor hasn't seen a hoover since it opened back in the 90's. You wouldn't buy clothes or books in this type of environment, so why sex toys? 

Friendliness and helpfuliness of staff: Each time I go into a shop I will talk to the staff about some of the toys or ask for help. As a rule I generally remember and nearly always come back or avoid a shop if it has rude or unhelpful staff. This is especially true for sex shops as there are so many people who might not feel the most comfortable asking questions.

Price range of toys: I'll have a good nose around and see if the shop is ripping us off or is being fair about its prices. I'll eventually build up a price list from going into them week by week, but also keeping in mind that online prices could be better or worse as a side note. I always want to support and keep Irish businesses up and running. 

Selection of products/Specialists: Do you only want to buy porn, or maybe a gimp mask? Not every shop will cater for specific needs or fetishes so I will be looking out for anything that might not be stocked in every shop. It can be nice to go and buy something in person instead of having to wait for it to be shipped to you from the big old interwebs.

Now this is going to be a trial and error kind of thing, so please feel free to give feedback or even suggestions of added questions/categories - it would be wonderful! If you don't fancy tweeting me (over here) or leaving a comment below, you can email me at bigblondegirl1@gmail.com. My first sex shop review will be up at the same time next week, so come back soon!

Friday 9 January 2015

TopShop Lipstick: The Damned


(Apologises for having this up late and an awful swatch photo. I was away from the aul blog/computer for the past day and didn't get time to take a good photo in daylight. Never fear though, I'll have a better one up asap!)

I'm forever seeing UK bloggers and vloggers talk about TopShop make up and I just love the look of it, its got packaging that can sometimes remind me of Benefit. But I've noticed not that many Irish bloggers/vloggers talk about them and I think it could be only one of the two things. Either its just not as popular over here, I mean when you go in for a tshirt your hardly thinking about foundation. Or its just too feckin' expensive and if your going to fork out on something like that, then Boots points should be given! Those two are always my excuse when I pass by TopShop, but I went in the other day on a mission, to have a look at the gorgeous stand of stuff. I was not disappointed either.

I ohhed and ahhed over things for the longest time, coming away with the typical overly coloured in hand from testing different products. I have a list of things I'd love the length of today and tomorrow now, so maybe the odd time I'm passing I'll pop in and pick one thing up at a time. As you'll now by now if your around these parts a while, I'm a big fan of the 'drug store' cheap as hell make up. And this, this lip stick was not even slightly cheap in my eyes at €12. If I went into Boots I could get 2 Seventeen lipsticks for that price and a good few Boots points too. But lads and ladies, would you be able to judge me when you have a goo of that shade? Oh holy mammy, its just perfect.

This is 'The Damned' - meaning damned expensive.. Sorry, sorry. Couldn't help that one. Its meant to be a matte finish, but personally I don't find that and it doesn't start to dry into your lips for maybe an hour after applying. Its a lovely rich creamy texture that glides across the aul smackers like it was made only for me. Massively pigmented and one that you will definitely need a mirror to apply with, its going to last you all day long. Its not as dark or purple as what it looks like, but you can also build it up easily so its a little bit darker. its still lovely on and adds a little more omph to your look. This one doesn't dry out my lips like some lipsticks I've used and it doesn't cling to any imperfections like other mattes I have in my ever growing collection. It lasted for a surprisingly long time, even after eating and drinking. I'm very impressed with it and hope that every TopShop lipstick has the same staying power. 

You can see the shade in action on my Instagram over here.

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Sleek Blush By 3: Pink Lemonade


Back in November I did a My Top 5 Blushers and told you that I had become quite the blush addict. In my ever long quest I have gathered even more blushers in the hopes that one day, I will look more like the girls in the magazines with their 'glowing' cheeks, rather then the deeply embarrassed look that I sport daily. (Think the part in Bridget Jones when she does her make up in the back of a dark taxi. Yeah, hiya. Thats me.) 

Sleek has come up big on my radar since about October when I bought myself a few eye shadow palettes after trying the contour kit and loving it. Naturally it was nothing short of a hot dirty weekend away and now we've moved our stuff in together and met each others parents. (If only it happened like that every time!) I've started a collection on their single blushers, but today I want to talk about the latest beauty and apple of my eye. 3 blushers in one palette; Pink Lemonade. 


In order, each gradually gets a slightly darker tone of pink with the two outer shades being shimmery powders and the middle one being a matte cream. This palette is the only one with a cream blush, as far as I know. Apart from the palette Californ.I.A which has all three shades in cream. I really enjoy using both of the powders, they are easy to apply, highly pigmented and give gorgeous shimmery colours that last all day. However I have still to come to terms with using the matte cream, I'm awful at applying anything with a cream constancy. But thats not to say that its not a lovely shade and fear not, I refuse to give up on it!  

I think these blush palettes are well worth the €12.99 as you get three gorgeous shades that will last you for ages and they come in a expensive looking palette that has a handy mirror in it, so you can pop it in your bag without a second thought. There are 8 different 'blush by 3' palettes in total and I I have my eye on lots of other ones, so you may see them pop up in future posts! All Sleek makeup on the Boots site is buy one, get one half price at the moment, so if you fancy picking this up you can get something else too!


Tuesday 6 January 2015

Book Review: The House That We Grew Up In


You know when life gets in the way of everything and even things that really left you with a strong opinion are all forgotten about? Thats how it was with this book. Life got in the way and this title went further and further to the back of my kindle, even though I couldn't put it down when I did read it. Ok, I'll admit that to begin with I was only reading this book because it was utterly dreadful and couldn't get me hooked. But man, I'm no quitter and I'm glad I stuck with it. Even all the way into the new year, I can still remember how good it was back when I picked it up in the summer. (although I read it again over Christmas, so I guess that was cheating a little.)

The house that we grew up in is based totally around the family home. The Bird's Colin and Lorelei lived there and brought up their four children, Rory, Rhys, Megan and Beth. They had parties in the kitchen, did homework in their bedrooms, had deep conversations in the sitting room and had egg hunts in the garden. This is a happy warm and inviting family, but theres something a little odd and nearly unsettling just under the surface that a finger can't quite be put on. Tragedy strikes and suddenly the reader can see more clearly each character. We are shown their flaws and the burdens that they each carry from growing up in the Bird house, but with each turn and twist they are never unlikable characters and you form an odd connection with them all.  

Despite this story being told in real time, flash backs and hopping from character to character, theres never a confusing moment in it and it flows beautifully. I found this really clever, how chaotic the story is - just like the family. However your never lost and can always find comfort in one or other voice telling you their thoughts. This is the opposite of a conventional household with quite a few taboo topics been discussed throughout the book like suicide, battling sexuality, divorce and mental illnesses. Once I got stuck into the book, there was never a dull moment and the ending is one of the best I've read in a long time. I'm normally one to give out non stop over how the ending didn't suit or impress me, but this was a total surprise and I loved it, even if it was a little sad.

I couldn't recommend this book enough if your one of those people who doesn't mind waiting a little while for the story to go pick up its pace. I loved every minute of this, how many topics were covered and how frantic the story could get, just as the characters were. There was always the right sense of feeling as I read through the story, which can be hard for authors to capture the reader like that. I especially loved the ending, I've not come away from a book so satisfied in a long time! A sad but really lovely and true to life story.

Monday 5 January 2015

H&M, The Body Shop And Boots Haul



Naturally I'm really slow to put up any haul posts and its no different this year. This is more a show and tell type of post then a 'I'm sure all this stuff is still in stock and at this price' post. Thats why I've decided not to do a Lush haul post as its all the things that they have out only for Christmas and it might not be left in stock if you go to get it. Theres nothing worse then going to the shop or online and finding that they are sold out of a bath bomb I've read about and really wanted. However, I've been into the Lush on Henry St. several times since Christmas and not only do they still have tonnes (I mean tonnes) of stock left for some reason, but its all at 50%, as it is every year. No prizes for guessing that I have come away every time with more then one bag. So if your near a shop, pop in and see if you can still grab yourself a santy themed bath delight!


H&M isn't my normal hang out as their sizing is all over the place. I'm anywhere between a 16 and an 18, but one day in there I managed to fit into a 12 and then only get one arm into an 18 not long after. - I can't handle it at all *pauses to shiver*. But I was shopping with friends so I had a gander at the sale while I was in. I came away with the comfiest and most lovely jumper reduced to €10 from €20 that I actually had to take off to photograph before shoving it back on. They had loads on the rails so I'm sure they could easily have one or two left if anyone thinks they could be as happy as I am. I also picked up a load of midi rings for €3.99 and a hipster-like grey wool hat with sparkles through it, as I have now come over to the dark side. Next you'll find me posting selfies in Starbucks..


 It would have been utterly rude to pass by The Body Shop and not go in when theres a sale on. I picked up a papaya shower gel and the same scent in a body butter along with a passion fruit shower gel. €10 for a body butter and €5 each for the shower gels? Stop talking and take my money please. I really love both of these scents and have them waiting on the side lines in the shower, as I'm nearly finished my Soap&Glory Orangasm body wash. I'm going to be smelling nothing but b-e-a-uu-tiful for all of 2015.


Lastly I oddly didn't go too wild in the sales in Boots. I picked up lots that wasn't in the sale though, don't worry I'm in good health! A lovely pair of pump slippers that were €6.25 down from a little crazy €12.50 and a cute Balmi in coconut that was €3.25 reduced from €6.50. Its my favourite scent and I always have a Balmi swimming around in the bottom of my bag, so I was very happy with this one! 


Sunday 4 January 2015

December Favourites


December was Christmas and that means good skin for applying lots of glitter and sparkle to. It was the month of much food, sending over 50 Christmas cards,baking and drinking a lot of alcohol. Dragging Christmas trees through doors and loosing cats to them for a full month, its been great! I took part in a blogger secret santa which was hosted by the wonderful TotalMakeUpAddict. I got so many lovely things from my secret santa but I didn't end up doing a post showing what I got unfortunately. However I am so grateful and will put up a quick Instagram snap of the haul to show anyone thats interested!


One of the lovely things that I've been using all month is the Revolution eye shadow palette. It has the most gorgeous shades, with a mixture of shimmers and mattes. I love the light champagnes and pinks, but I also love the golds and browns. Its the perfect palette to bring you from day to night and all the shimmers for party season! (not that it will stop me from wearing them all year round.)

Another thing that I am forever in love with, but especially this month has been my matte dark red Inglot lipstick. Red lips are the automatic thing to happen when it starts getting cold and Christmas is only around the corner. I have a full blog post about this lipstick and a matching lip gloss over here.


Not a new one to me, but I'm not sure if I've talked about it on the blog before. Lushes Mask of Magnaminty is the only face mask in their line that you don't need to keep in the fridge or use up within tow weeks. Its over €10 so I hadn't picked it up in a few months, but I couldn't help giving myself a little early present. This is full of minty peppermint and fights all those face uglies - spots. I put this all over my face and also once or twice on my arms, as I have had breakouts there too. The day after using it I always find a massive difference in my skin and my spots seem to particularly reduce on my arms. One that I would totally recommend picking up if you are looking for something from Lush that isn't bath related.


I've started a serious long term relationship with Sleek over the past few months. December hasn't been any different, with my contour kit that I've talked about in previous favourites posts (but its just too damn amazing not to talk about again and again) and my new blush in the shade antique. Its the perfect amount of shimmer and on the slightly darker side for the cold season. I'm not a fan of coral or bright pinks up I'm starting to come round to the lighter colours. In the mean time, this has been on my face all day, everyday. I've collected quite an amount of Sleek blushers, so I might do a separate post on them.


Boots own brand nose pore strips are my all time favourite guilty pleasures. You get 6 strips in the box and each one is a delight to use. Wet your your nose and apply the strip, leave it on to dry for a few minutes and then.. Rip it off! Lovely clean pores. See? Total dirty guilty pleasure.

A slightly different favourite is Bewleys Christmas chai tea. I'm so sad that that its only limited edition as I'm utterly in love with the drink. It was something stupid like €4, but I'm already looking forward to next year when they hopefully bring them back. Mmmm.

Lastly is the *Ameliorate body lotion. Its just so lovely on the skin, I use it on my arms most days and it sinks in beautifully without leaving oily residue or being too heavy. Its really expensive and I doubt very much that I'll buy it myself, but its just fab. 

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

Saturday 3 January 2015

Make Up Brush Cleaning Mitt From Boots?


I was having a little walk around Boots the other day and had seen that Soap&Glory had a 3 for 2 offer on all their toiletry bags and accessories. I had noticed a few people suggesting that the Soap&Glory massage glove (see here) was the perfect thing for a cheaper version of the Sigma brush cleaner. But on closer inspection I thought that the little raised bumps weren't deep enough for brush bristles to go between and get a decent clean. And at €11 I thought that my money could be better spent. I was leaving the aisle when I noticed the Face Massage Mini Mitt for €5.50. As I am one of Those people, I pulled it out and had a proper look, it had more of what I was looking for. And if it was utterly crap, I wouldn't have wasted too many of my pennies.


The long and short of it? It really works a feckin' treat for all my brushes and I'm ashamed to say that they are now the cleanest they've ever been. (Hangs head in shame.) The bigger raised bumps are deep and just perfect to get between the bristles of brushes - especially tiny ones that are so hard to get clean. I'm thinking of lip brushes in particular that you can never get the kind of greasy residue off of. 

Its not the most amazing thing for larger brushes, but my foundation kabuki brush still got a much better clean then with just the palm of my hands and some cleaner. I can't say too much about the smaller rounder bumps at the top, they didn't do too much to impress, but none the less they are handy. I'll say that apart from the small size, the one downfall is that the rubber is very bendy so you need to have a good hold of the mitt. However for just over a fiver and mega clean brushes, I'm only splitting hairs here.

But one thing I wondered as I'm only using this for my brushes, is the fact that its actually for your face! I ran it over my skin on the back of my hand and have to say I wouldn't bother with this for cleaning or cleansing my face. It would be way too awkward, time consuming and gimmicky. Soap&Glory need to start marketing this as a brush cleaner mitt and they would sell loads as it works way better! Have a look at it over here, you might want to try it out on your brushes!