Monday, 27 July 2015

SLIM Sonic: a hightech hedgehog for your mouth

SLIM Sonic isn't Sonic the Hedgehog getting buff. It's a fashionably-finished, battery operated sonic toothbrush that fits nicely in your bag (gym or otherwise) and budget, so you can polish those pearlys on the go. Its pretty sweet actually, without the threat of cavities.

Included in the box you get the actual sonic toothbrush, the toothbrush cover (handy for not picking up bits of fluff/lipstick/random buttons/sweets at the bottom of your bag), a spare brush head (for yourself or your chosen recipient) and the battery! I love that the battery is included in this. You also get instructions. Have a read of these to make sure you have put the battery in the right way.

The brush head itself is quite firm (hard) so I would advise being gentle with it on your teeth as you will end up brushing away your enamel if you push too hard, which is far too easy to do as the neck of the brush has no flexibility. But the fact that the brush head moves at 22 000 strokes per minute, just gently stroking the bristles over your teeth for the required 2 minutes gives a really good clean with no need for elbow grease. Just remember to be Gentle!

SLIM Sonic fits nicely into your hand, it is about the same length as an ordinary toothbrush, but feels smaller in my hand for some reason. The Power button requires quite a firm push to get it started, but since it is protected by the cover, you won't have your bag buzzing at inopportune moments. I like that the cover has little breathing holes in the top too. This is so that the brush dries out properly between uses, which means that bacteria growth is limited as bacteria like a moisture rich environment to thrive in. The SLIM Sonic also has coloured bristles that fade with use so you  know when to replace the brush head.

While I am not keeping mine in my bag, I am keeping it in the downstairs bathroom. I signed myself up for a fitness plan and it has meant giving up bread and pasta and chocolate and crisps and cheese for 6 weeks. I miss cheese.  So until I can start slowly re-introducing those foods into my diet I am turning to minty toothpaste and the fact that I have just brushed my teeth to stop myself from snacking on nonsense that is off-plan. I am two weeks in and I have to say that while I am still having some EPIC cravings, this is helping to keep me on the wagon. I'd properly adore it if it would do my exercises for me...

I like that I can toss this in my handbag when I know I am headed out to meet friends (who are thankfully very understanding and supportive while I do this) and I like that it is available in pharmacies all over Ireland, I also spotted them in my local Boots. You don't have to have a pink glitter one, there are literally hundreds of colours or designs so find the one you like.

What does this little powerhouse cost? €19.95. And that includes your battery and extra brush head. And you can buy extra brush heads (a four pack costs around €15).

I did a bit of browsing and found SLIM Sonic on sale on the Sam McCauley website for €13.37! Keep your eyes peeled though, for Summer 2015 you might find it in your pharmacy for the special price of €12.95.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Empties: April & May 2015

Took me aaaages to finish some of these, but I slogged on through them, put them in my little caddy and proceeded to forget about them as I was blinded by newer, shiner, fuller products. I finally got round to them though. Here we go:

So we will start at the top. The top of the body. Hair!
Neutrogena T/Gel (125ml €2.99 on offer, normally around the €6 mark). This is the one for greasy hair and it works well to de-grease and lift flakes off the scalp. Both me and Hannah suffer from dry flakey scalps but with greasy roots and this suited us down to the ground without causing any other irritations or drying out our scalps even more. I did like this, I liked it a lot, but I found another shampoo conditioner combo that suits me far better. But Himself is now a big fan of this over his usual Head& Shoulders so I have to re-purchase. And he won't mind if I use it every now and again.

Macadamia Oil Extract Hair Treatment (250ml €1.99 in my local pharmacy). Cheap as chips this treatment got used just on the ends of my hair and really helped to keep them smooth and hydrated. But getting this anywhere near my scalp just turned me into a greaseball. Use with caution!

Face next!

Neutrogena Visibly Clear 2-in-1 Cleanser Mask (150ml €4.49). Professed my love for it here. Prefer it to the Vichy one. Will get it again when it is on offer in Tesco when I can chuck it in with the groceries.

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant (this was a sample, full size 75g €50+) I liked this, polished away dry bits and and mopped up a bit of grease without being harsh and scratchy. Pity its so expensive.

Aldi Lacura Aqua Complete Hydrating Serum (€4.99 I think). Deadly little hydrating serum that has been compared to Vichy's Aqualia Thermal Serum. Nice when you need to up your hydration for a short period and you don't want to splash the cash.

Justine Tissue Oil Skin Repair Face Cream (present from my SA Bestie ZAR240 50ml). I like this as my occasional Day cream. It has SPF20 and a multitude of oils and ingredients to protect and heal irritated skin. I wish you could get it here. This cream sinks in quickly without leaving a residue and my skin feels really nourished during the day. It is most often what I will use if I know I am not going out during the day. Why I prefer it for this... I don't know.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+ *(€20odd 40ml). Good for oily & normal to sensitive-ish skins who have bothersome-breakouts and scarring. Its nice. Not great for properly sensitive skins though, the active ingredients are quite "active". I liked it, but found something a bit more effective...

La Roche Posay Redermic R* (€34 30mls) A very gentle but rather effective retinol treatment that helped brighten, tighten and lighten (pigmentation). I like it. But I need something more.... More. My pigmentation (melasma) is fierce.

On to the Body.

FINALLY finished this Soap & Glory Smoothie Star Body Milk (€13.99 400ml). Took me nearly 2 years, but I did it. Adore the smell of this (so does himself... he is partial to a vanilla milkshake) but I found it didn't really do the "deep moisture" thing, more of a light lotion. The fact that it comes with a pump makes it awesome.

Justine Tissue Oil Facial Treatment (another SA prezzie ZAR190 30ml). This was a bit too greasy for my face, but it was ACE for my knees and elbows and the auld Boobage. A drop did both Knees, another drop for the elbows and a special treat... a drop for each boob. It smells like what I can remember Olay used to smell like, way back when.

Straight Arrow Foot Miracle Therapeutic Cream* (€12.95 170g). We have had this very tube since August 2013. Yes. And we finished it just about 1 and a half years later. This was soo good, you didn't need much of it. Pop it on straight after a shower, put on socks, go to bed and wake up the next day with super soft feet. And then you don't use it again until your feet resemble hooves... 3 weeks later in my house. This stuff is so good that Himself has been bugging me to get another one. That is how good it is.

Lastly the Hands:

Jessica Fusion Treatment (€25+  14.8ml)*. My HOLY GRAIL of nail polish treatments/base coats. Fusion is truly amazing for peeling brittle nails. Siriusly. I adore this soooooo much. It is also the first base coat I have ever finished before its gone gloopy. I just wish it wasn't so expensive.

Cutex Nourishing Nail Polish Remover (€2.99 200ml). One of the few nail polish removers that I purchase over and over again because it works. Not great with glitter, but I have yet to find one that is. I even like the smell of this one.

So there you have it. My April & May empties. In July. I know I am late. And I have my June & July empties ready to be photographed... I have been in a bit of a funk... and I am playing catchup, but I think I am starting to get my groove back...

Anything strike your fancy? Have you tried anything on this list and had a different reaction/opinion? Lemme know in the comments!

*Products received for review, opinions my own

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Simple Summer Skin with Catrice

Super budget brand Catrice is one of my favourite everyday brands. Their products are cheap but generally well pigmented and their limited edition collections are 2nd to none. Their regular lines sometimes get overlooked though... and there are some gems in the permanent collection, especially if you are looking for things to take with you on holiday...

I used Catrice 3in1 Skin Tone Adapting Makeup in Medium 020 once before I went away. But I have used it pretty much every single day since coming home. It's a bit gimmicky, in that it comes out of the tube as a white cream and then pigment bubbles burst as you rub it into your skin and its supposed to match any skin tone.

Its not exactly "match all", as it does tend towards orange, so I can't see it working on the palest of the pale. I have only played with Medium though, and I imagine that 010 Light would be better for the peaches and cream complexions. BUT with a layer of good old CocoaBrown tan, which I have on pretty much all summer, Medium is awesome. And the finish is perfect for summer: light, with sheer-ish coverage which gives a nice finish that is neither matte nor overly glowy. Most importantly it isn't sticky.

It absorbs into the skin kind of like a moisturiser and dries down to a soft velvety feel, but I wouldn't use this as skin care. I like my moisturiser... this is like a bb cream to me... light coverage that makes my skin look good. The price point is on the money too coming in at just €7.89 for 30mls. So replacing it isn't an issue if it goes missing. As I said, I have been using this pretty much everyday since I've had it and I've liked it every time I've used it.

I'm not big on liner in the summer, so I will be saving this Waterproof Catrice Eyeliner Pen for Autumn (which will probably start in 3 weeks...sigh). But its good. I can't attest to its waterproof claims, but it is deffo sweat-proof, and not just a light perspiration, this was a full on high intensity 40 minute sweatfest, and I still had perfect liner, even after wiping and patting. It came off pretty easily with my Nima mitt and I have also used the Garnier micellar water and it has come off easily after a little soaking.

Catrice Eyeliner Pen waterproof is good and black, and depending on how you angle the nib, you can get a super skinny black line or a good thick one, as you can see in the above pic. And its one of those that if you go slowly but surely, you get a good, solid line that doesn't have baldy bits that you need to go over. You can go over it a second time, but it dries so quickly that doing this makes it look a bit flakey. A single layer is enough for me though so its not an issue.

Look Mam! I can do a skinny flick!

I know that an issue with these felt tip type liners is tat they dry out quickly. This has a lid that clicks on firmly, and I store mine standing up, nib side down. And these only cost €3.49! So again... its not a train smash if it only lasts 2 months.

This next beauty is crazy pretty. Catrice Sun Glow Shimmering Bronzing Powder is flipping gorgeous and costs €5.49. It comes in two colour ways, 020 Shimmering Hazel and this one 010 Sun dance. A two colour shimmering bronzing "brick" and it does what it says on the tin. Its a finely milled, buttery soft, very pigmented powder with fine gold sparkles running though it that gives a gorgeous bronze glow to the skin without looking like you dipped your face in gold glitter.

I'm not a big bronzer girl... I'm always scared I end up looking dirty, but this Catrice one and the NYX one I mentioned are the two I am finding I am actually reaching for as they deliver a gorgeous colour without leaving me looking like I got caught in a dust cloud.

So you can see what it all looks like, I put all three on (and a bit of mascara) and that's it. An easy, quick summer look with minimal products and even less fuss.

*should have put some lippy on...

**Products gratefully received, Opinions always my own.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Uhmazing Uhmerica Makeup. What I took and what I used

I took what I thought was a minimal amount of makeup with me when we went to America. Enough to do a full face of makeup for the wedding we were attending, but without bringing the proverbial kitchen sink. I was hoping to be able to do a bit of "drug store shopping", but in the heat, with two uncooperative kids and a husband who had his own shopping agenda, it didn't happen like I had hoped it would and in reality I bought very little while I was there. Its ok. I managed.

I picked up this Flamingo makeup bag in Penneys (Primark) for €4.50. It was just the right size to fit my brushes and my products without being too big and bulky. Also: FLAMINGO!

And on to what I packed:
NYX Shine Killer* (€15.99 for 20ml) worked an absolute treat in the heat and humidity of Chicago and Florida. It was HAWT, but my foundation stayed put and I wasn't a greaseball so long as I blotted away the sweats gently.

CATRICE Nude Illusions Foundation - Rose Beige (€8.99 for 30ml). I bought this when it came out. I was wearing tan at the time and so when the tan wore off it was far dark for me. So I brought it with to mix in with Vichy Dermablend which was too light...

VICHY Dermablend Total Body Corrective Foundation* - Light (€25.00 for 100ml) Heavy duty full coverage foundation for the body. But because it is elastic, it wears incredibly well on my face. Full coverage means it covers my pigmentation marks perfectly without me having to pack on layers and layers of product. Its not just heavy duty though, its easy to sheer out with a brush or your fingers. I ADORE this for my nights out. And it mixes really well with the Catrice mentioned above and the new Vichy Foundations.

NYX Matte Bronzer - Dark Tan (€10.95) The nicest bronzer I have used. You can vary your intensity by using a light touch or go full on if that floats your boat. Not too warm (orange) and not ashy, just nice. I just found that you need to have a dry base for this ie. you need to allow your foundation to set/dry properly or set it with powder otherwise it can "catch" on your skin, looking a bit patchy making it tough to blend. But I have been using this to keep up the bit of colour I picked up in The States.

YOUNGBLOOD Mineral Rice Setting Powder* - Light (€37.00 ) I love this. You can use it before applying foundation to get super oil-mopping power or for an ultra matte finish. Use it to set your foundation after applying it too. I will never be without it.

CATRICE Eyeshadow mono - C'mon Chameleon (€4.99) A greeny browny duo-chrome that works well as just a sheer colour or packed on for eye catching gorgeousness. It has been discontinued, but if your stand isn't updated very often (mine isn't) you might still pick it up!

ESSENCE Silky Touch Blush - Autumn Peach* (€3.99). A teeny bit of shimmer and a lovely peachy colour makes this just the right product to bring out my cheek bones. Goes on really nicely even if you haven't set your foundation. Used this pretty much everyday. I'm still using it...

CATRICE Eyeshadow mono - Starlight Espresso (€4.99) THE perfect eyebrow powder. Even though it is an eyeshadow (and a dupe for MAC Copperplate apparently) this is a great brow powder. Ashy and nicely pigmented and completely MATTE, there is no redness in there. I love this so much I have a spare even though I haven't gotten halfway through the 1st one.

CATRICE Made to Stay Longlasting eyeshadow pot - Metal of Honor (€3.99 I think) These have also been discontinued, but they are little pots of loveliness (I bought 4). A great primer, eyeshadows stick to this like glue until you remove it and it also gives a beautiful metallic finish to your eyes. I need to use a finger to apply this though, I haven't found a brush that applies this as nicely as a finger does. But you can use a brush to blend out the edges... I used this for the rehearsal dinner when I had literally 30 minutes to dress myself and the two kids.

CATRICE Pure Shine Colour Lip Balm - Rusty In Peace ( approx€4 or €5 this one was on sale). These twisty-uppy sticks of colour balm are bloody lovely. The feel of a balm with a punch of colour. This one is a pretty nude peach and it has been discontinued. Remember to push the lid on firmly and you are all set, I carried this in my bag always and it added a bit of polish to my look when I was in a hurry. I'm going through it at a rate of knots...

NYX HD Concealer - CW04 Beige (€6.99) A good concealer for spots and not a bad eyelid primer in a pinch as it takes redness down completely. It does have a tendency to sit in the fine lines under my eyes if I am not light-handed though. Once you set it though it doesn't budge.

ESSENCE Make Me Brow - Browny Brown (€3.09) Already raved about this budget bit. Its Awesome. Nuff said.

NYX The Natural Shadow Palette (this was a prize so I'm not sure of the price). I used this for the wedding. I like this little palette, pigmentation is pretty good and the shadows blend nicely, but there is a bit of fallout. I like that it is small and fits in your bag so you can adjust your makeup on the go with a suggestion about how to do this on the back

ESSENCE Double ended pencil sharpener* (€1.29-€1.99?) Karen from LovelyGirlyBits loves hers too (she mentions it here, but I can't find the video where she chats about it). One side sharpens fat pencils and the other does thin ones. and it has a lovely little lid to contain the shavings. And it doesn't matter if it gets lots because its cheap as chips to replace.

NYX Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator - Gleam* ( €9.49) A gorgeous cream highlighter that blends nicely but can tend to "Glitterbomb" if you are not light handed. Go carefully. I used a stippling brush to get just the right finish.

Rimmel ScandalEyes Eyeshadow Stick (€5.99) I brought two with me: Trespassing Taupe & Bootleg Brown. Scribble them on, pat with a finger to blend a bit and away you go. I used these most nights when we were going out for dinner. I love these sticks and I must get more of them.

NYC Satin Matte Lipstick* - 451 Velvety Fuchsia & 450 Pure Coral (€2.49) I wore Pure Coral to the rehearsal dinner and Velvety Fuchsia to the wedding. Got compliments on both and both performed really well but budget lippies. I think I topped up twice on both nights, if that. I do love them!

SLEEK i-Divine Palette - Vintage Romance (€9.99) Took it with and didn't even open it! Sigh.

VICHY Teint Ideal Pure Light Face Roll-On* (€15.99) Took it with and didn't open it.

ESSENCE Liquid Ink Matte Eyeliner* (€2.89) yup. again. Took it with and didn't have time to use it.

ESSENCE Lash Princess Volume Mascara (€4.09) Love this stuff. Used it every day.

YOUNGBLOOD Extreme Pigment Eye Pencil* (€12.00) I used it once. The wedding. And I could have done without it...

SMASHBOX Full Exposure Mascara (Sample size) Didn't use it.

NYX Slide on , Glide on, Stay on & Definitely a Turn On Waterproof Extreme Shine Eyeliner - Golden Bronze (a Prize... I can't find a price!)  I FLIPPING LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!! Despite the hella long name, this does exactly what it says on the side. Slides on glides on stays on... you get the point. I need more of these!

To put it into perspective... this is what I should have packed. All that is missing is the NYX insert-long-ass-name-here Gel Pencil and the NYC Coral Lippy which I fear I have lost... balls.

If I had maybe I could have convinced himself to give me time to walk through the makeup isles in the shops we were in... cos you know... I didn't bring enough with me.

My Rehearsal Dinner Face...And my Hubby.

And overall the budget bits seemed to be the things I chose to bring with me over some of the more expensive bits I own. Maybe its because I was scared things would go missing.

My Wedding face. And hair. Sort of.

Lets just take one last look at the Pelicans Flamingos

I am still loving this Flamingo Bag long time though. Its the first time in a very very long time that I have had a dedicated "makeup bag"... I think I might need a few more...

*-ed products were samples gratefully received, everything else was my own purchase....

Friday, 17 July 2015

Indeed Labs Retinol Reface: It works... Kinda

Every body loved Indeed Labs Hydraluron serum. Except me. I honestly didn't think it did anything for my skin. But I am a big lover of anything retinol based and when I walked past it in Boots a few months ago and saw it was on offer (RRP €26.99) for €19.99 I couldn't pass it up...

 Promising "Softer, smootherlooking skin while helping to reduce the appearance of crows feet, fine lines and wrinkles" this gets used after cleansing and toning, but before moisturiser.

This is a soft white serum that feels quite silicon-y, but sinks in really quickly. I really like that the tube comes with a pump: One pump dispenses exactly enough product to do your face and neck, provided that you have toned properly and the skin is still a little damp. So this 30 ml tube will last you a good 2- 3 months. The pump also means that you won't waste product as it is quite responsive, if you only want half a pump its easy to get just that.

I started by using this every 3rd night for 2 weeks, after that I alternated every 2nd night with Alpha H Liquid Gold. And each night I followed with either my Vichy Night Detox or The Body Shop Vitamin E Sorbet .

It is nice... but I haven't seen a massive difference to my lines. I also think that the silicones which are the product base made me a bit congested around my jaw line as I struggled with a few sore spots that didn't/wouldn't come to the surface while using Retinol Resurface. Having stopped using it the spots cleared. Make of that what you will...

However, this did work well to help fade my pigmentation, especially on my forehead, and I didn't get any congestion there. So I will keep using it just there until its finished. And its almost finished... I can't wait because I treated myself and bought Sunday Riley Luna to try next: SQUEEEEEEE!

Indeed Labs Retinol Reface would be a good starting retinol especially if you are tolerant of silicones, normal to dry skins would probably like this a whole lot better than properly oily skins. Start slow and build it up, it does need time to get to work!
As of right now its on offer at for €17.99 if you want to give retinols a go.

**Purchased by me, Opinions are Mine. 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

They've cracked it: A properly nice tasting coconut water

innocent. Synonymous with tasty smoothies and cool knitted beanies on their bottles that raise money for charities, we have all had one of their drinks. Well, they have only gone and made the most delicious coconut water. Ever.

Himself has been know to dabble in a few amateur MMA fights and has had to do the whole "weight cut" to "make weight" and then try to re-hydrate and put the extra mass on in the time after weigh-in and before the fight (yes, I know... the ambiguity). He has used coconut waters in the past as they are popular among the MMA crowd, especially for re-hydrating post weigh-in, but they haven't really tasted the best... like I know fresh coconut water to taste. But innocent have actually "cracked it". They have made a product that tastes like it is supposed to.

innocent coconut water is made from a blend of a specially selected varieties of coconut. And that's it. No extra additives, concentrates or added sugar/sweeteners to improve the taste. It naturally contains a high percentage of potassium which is an essential mineral in maintaining hydration levels, making this the perfect drink for the blessedly hot days we have been having. And it tastes JUST like the stuff you try so hard to catch when you crack coconuts at home. It is proper lovely. Honest. Even the kids liked it!

The gorgeous folks over at innocent sent me 2 500ml (RRP 2.99) cartons to try and I am so glad they did because I didn't have to fight himself for a glass. It is seriously delish, on its own straight from the fridge. In the cool glass that came in the even cooler cooler bag. (yep... I said it). You can find cartons in the fridge section of your supermarket.

I have been consistently inconsistent the last few weeks with the blog. But I have my reasons. We were away for our first proper family "vaycay"and if you follow me on instagram you would have seen we have a new baby too: a 3month old pupster that goes by Flash. He's awesome and he is robbing and chewing everything. And I had been running round like a blue arsed fly in this heat trying to get everything organised and sorted and this little package arrived at just the right time. It has made re-hydrating a pleasure and I will deffo be picking a few more up for the day after the night before and also days where I want a wee treat.

innocent coconut water gets a thumbs up from the Skew Clan

innocent have cracked it. A coconut water in a handy carton that tastes as fresh as those yokes you can get on those beaches in those fancy resorts. All you have to do is close your eyes and pretend you are there...

Monday, 15 June 2015

Uhmazing Uhmerica. I'll be back.

17 days in the States, I had an absolute ball. So did the rest of the family.  I didn't take a lot with me, mainly because I wanted to buy a few (all of the) things there. We took 4 cases with us, but only checked 3 (I packed one case into another) and so I had a whole extra 23kgs allowance to be able to bring things back. Which we did, but not as much as I would have hoped. Oh well. 

it was soooo bright!

Anyways... this is what I took body and skincare wise. I haven't included my Sun Protection in this one, because I bought our body SPF there (Banana Boat Spray on SPF50: not amazing...but it did the job), and left it there. My Facial SPF was all LRP and only LRP. The husband and kids also used it on their faces, and spending nearly all day outside in Florida in 32-36degC heat (we did wear peak caps) but we never burned. Not ONCE. None of us even got a little reddish. We picked up colour, but it was so gentle...we are back 5 days and its pretty much gone #sadface .

Cleansers first:

I took with The Body Shop Tea Tree Foam Cleanser, but it does not travel well. Despite being properly closed it leaked all over the place. Thank goodness I had it in a ziplock bag, the only victims of tea tree soakage were my cotton pads. I ended up abandoning it in the 2nd hotel we stayed in because it leaked during a car journey.

That brown tub filled with white lumpy grease is actually a mini body butter tub from The Body Shop that I cleaned out and filled with coconut oil. I love coconut oil at the moment. It cleanses quite nicely and doesn't clog my skin. It is also a great multi-tasking product: its good on hair ends to tame frizz, its an excellent cleanser ans works well as a light moisturiser (use a little) or a deep moisturiser (use layers), its a great waterproof makeup remover, body moisturiser, after sun, hand cream etc. We like coconut oil in our house... and not just as a beauty ingredient. I cook with it too.

I also took my trusty Nima Mitt with. I used it to take of my makeup most days. It is one of those micro-fibre cloths that just use water to take off make-up. It also works as a great exfoliator, but to the way it works. The hotels always supply a little bar of toilet soap (which is what you need to clean your mitt with) so I didn't need to bring that with me. I used my Nima Mitt first (as a pre cleanse) then went in with the coconut oil to deep cleanse.

My skin mostly played ball, but because my diet (and veggies) was pretty much out the window, I did get a few spots on my chin and jaw, nothing serious, but I struggled to get them to heal quickly.


I brought these two sample masks with from Academie. Exfoliating Care is a lactic acid based mask to help lift dead skin cells off the face and reveal the newer skin underneath. I liked it, but it didn't blow me away like the REN Flash Rinse did (and still does).
Academie Stimulating and Moisturizing (urgh that z ) mask was great. I applied it as soon as we got to the hotel after out flight (I cleansed first) and my skin felt instantly soothed. When I took it off my skin felt plump and hydrated and it felt comfortable, I didn't need to rush with moisturiser. I liked that the 50ml sizes  had enough for multiple uses, without taking up massive space.
I think I would like to explore the Academie range a bit more actually...


I alternated using the NIP + Fab Glycolic Fix pads and my now beloved Alpha H Liquid Gold. I have already gushed about the pads... but I need to put pen to paper (or finger my keyboard... teehee) and declare my love for AHLG.

I used LRP Serozinc every evening before applying my moisturiser (after giving my toner/treatmet 30 minutes to do its thang) and every morning before moisturising... but I am still on the fence. It didn't particularly help prevent spots, or actually help them heal. But then the spots didn't become ulcerous once they came to a head, like they would normally. So I am not sure. I need more testing. Happily, the tin is still fairly full, despite me using it fairly liberally over the last 3 weeks.

Facial Moisturisers:

SteamCream. Its good stuff. And it is travel friendly. It is 75ml, so it can go in your cabin luggage. The tins seal properly, so there is no leakage. And the cream itself is lovely. Thick and rich, but absorbs pretty much immediately. We can also use it on Hanna's eczema prone skin without her complaining that it burns. I used this as my night cream. So did Hannah and my husband. Hannah also used it as her day cream. And her lunch time top up. We managed the whole holiday with no eczema itches.

Vichy Normaderm Detox, kinda got forgotten about. I only realised I had it with me when I was packing to come home. I have no idea why... but I just forgot I packed it. It would have been awesome on my chin and Jaw. And its back into my routine, where it belongs.

I used The Body Shop Vitamin E Sorbet as my day cream. I kept it in the fridge in case of sunburns, but we never burned. This meant that it was insanely cooling when it went on in the mornings. Perfect for refreshing skin after sweaty nights.

And the good old coconut oil. I've already explained.

Body Care was minimal:

Garnier Mineral Invisible Roll On Anti-persperant: it was ok. but that is about all I can say about it. It smells lovely, but it goes on so wet, it takes ages to dry. And ain't nobody got time to flap around the bathroom waiting for your pits to dry. I won't get this again.

Cocoabrown 1 hour Tan. Standard. Fool proof colour that stopped me from looking like a ghostly tourist. I applied it with a mitt at night before bed and showered it off the next morning for great colour. Hotel bed sheets... gotta love em :)

Oral B Pro Expert sample got us through the first few days of tooth brishing until we could hit up a Targe/Walmart and get a full sized toothpaste. Its good and gritty and has a lovely minty taste that I personally love, but that my hubby isn't keen on.

The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit Body Sorbet is just lovely stuff. Ultra hydrating, super soothing, lovely smelling cooling goodness. Especially coming straight out of the fridge. I have the Moringa one too and they are my favourite summer body lotions. They leave skin well hydrated without feeling greasy, and you are left smelling lovely too.

The hotels provided nice shower gels, so I used those. But I took with Lush Happy Hippy just for in case. Which was just as well. I ended up using it as a washing detergent. Yes. I washed our clothes with Lush Shower gel. And they smelled amazing afterwards. And the clothes didn't react badly. So yeah. I think I may have found a new way to scent my undies...

That was what I took with us to the States. We went because Dave's nephew was getting married and both our kids were in the wedding party. So we had to go. It was made a whole lot less stressful due to getting my Irish citizenship (and passport) and the fact that just about the whole Irish side of the family went, as a group. We had an absolute blast and I would love to visit again. I would love to spend more time in Chigaco City (the museum circuit is calling me...) and possibly join a tour next time too. And since we were already going to be there we decided to do Orlando too.

Our next holiday will be in Europe, but America is on my list. Especially the Beluga Whales.

Friday, 22 May 2015

NYC Satin Matte Lipsticks: Fierce & Fabulous!

Guess what?!?!?!? NYC (or New York Color) has launched 5 gorgeous new lippies, and they are flippin fabulous. NYC Expert Last Lip Colour Satin Matte formulations and superb pigmentation are the order of business here, and these aren't as drying as you might expect.

These retail for the ridiculously low €2.49 / £1.99 each and they are worth way more. With hydrating properties, these are buttery and creamy, I'd be worried about the colour cracking off inside the bullet and making a mess of my handbag, but the lid clicks closed fairly firmly, so its ok, just be gentle when topping up on the go.

As I said, there are 5 colours in this formulation and I have thoroughly tested every one of them. Super soft and rather balm-like in texture, staying power is pretty good: I get about 4 hours of solid colour before I feel like I need to top up the colour on the inner rim of my lips. But I think its just because I like the balmy texture ans smooshing my lips together. To really prolong wear I would recommend applying a lip liner, a layer of colour, blotting and adding a 2nd layer of colour and blotting again to set.

Satin-Matte is a good description for this new formula, because it is satiny when it is first applied, but once it dries and settles on your lips it turns to a more matte finish. It does take a wee while for it to dry though, so give it 15 /20 minutes before you eat/drink/stick your fingers in your mouth, otherwise you will end up with stains on everything. If you ca't wait and want a velvety matte finish immediately, blot gently with a translucent powder and you are ready.

On to swatches!

The nudest of of the bunch, 448 Smooth Beige was the one I struggled a bit with. It clung in any dry patches and emphasized them, and it does look a bit like concealer lips, but with a super balm-like feeling. Paired with flawless skin and a deep smokey eye this is looks pretty good. A light slick patted in as a hint of colour works really well to take down the colour of your lips if you are wanting to do a nude lip.

449 Creamy Mauve is a more pink than mauve, but it is still pretty and looks lovely with fresh skin and minimal faff on the makeup front. I like it, and its gorgeous for summer.

450 Pure Coral is just that: Pure Coral. Loud and proud, bright and insanely bold, this Pinky-Orangey Gorgeousness practically screams neon (well to me it does) and is the one that puts me right out of my comfort zone. I am so not used to lippy this bright, but because the formulation is so lovely... I have worn this on the school run a few times and I am getting used to it. Its coming with me to Chicago and is a contender for the "wedding face**".

451 Velvety Fuchsia is the other contender for the "wedding face**". Another bright, this is more pink and it is the one I have enjoyed wearing most so far. I love the way that this wears too, it stains the lips so if you apply lipbalm after eating it sheers it out and helps you avoid "Ring Mouth" (where you lipstick wears off everywhere except the outlines of your lips). A lip liner will help you get a good 4 hours out of one application, but I can't be bothered. I'll just touch up on the go.

Finally, we have 452 Red Suede. Va va voom, this is red velvet on your lips. I wore this all day today after taking these photos as I just liked the way it looked with the clean liner. This is also coming with to Chicago, because reasons. I will find a place to wear it. Even if it is just IHOP. I made this matte instantly by patting a bit of YoungBlood Mineral Rice Setting Powder over it with my finger tips and blotting with a clean tissue. A lip liner would have given me a cleaner line, but I didn't get any feathering, and it didn't bleed at all, regardless of how many times I smooshed. And I like to smoosh.

All in all, these NYC Expert Last Lip Colours are fantastic value for money and if you are looking for a new lip colour for the summer months it is well worth checking them out. I know that Sera (Agoraphobic Fashionista) likes them too

NYC stands are like hens teeth in my area, but I spotted a relatively unmolested one in Newry (in SemiChem) that had these new colours in it. You can also find stockists here: Click Here

**Wedding Face: the main purpose of our trip State-side is for a Wedding. The kids are part of the wedding party so we have to go...

*PR Samples gratefully received, (mainly because I can never find a decently stocked stand) Opinions are always my own.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

L'Oréal Paris Skin Perfection Soothing Gel-cream Wash: a bit meh.

I am always looking for a new cleanser that will take off the days makeup easily while looking after my skin. I know that L'Oréal have been upping their game with regards to new product formulations so when I spied the Skin Perfecting Soothing Gel-cream Wash in Tesco for just under a fiver... I popped it in the trolley and that was before Christmas.

Supposedly good for dry and sensitive skin, and making some big claims about removing makeup and impurities, this contains no perfume or soap, and so smells mostly like nothing, but there is a faint wiff of something pharmaceutical about it. It isn't unpleasant at all, just clean. I like that.

The other thing I like is that it has a flip top. And I like how the hole is small, because this cleanser is quite runny, and you only really need a small amount, which makes this great for the budget conscious user. You won't be accidentally wasting this.

This reacts like a gel when you mix it with water. It just spreads further and if you agitate it you will see it captures small bubbles of air, but it doesn't actually foam. As I said it spreads easily and feels soft and gentle on my skin, and I suppose it does an ok job as a morning cleanser. But that is about where the good things end for me.

I tried using this to remove a regular days makeup: moisturiser, foundation, eyeliner, mascara, blush, whats left of my lipstick. And after rinsing off with my usual facecloth and warm water, when I went in with my toner afterwards I still had an awful lot of colour product that came off on the cotton pad. Strike One.

Even after rinsing and rinsing again, my skin didn't actually feel like it was clean. I can't explain it, but I felt like I needed to go in with my balm cleanser. It didn't leave a film behind, but it didn't remove all the dirt/grime/makeup. Strike Two.

It broke me out. One of the ingredients in this caused spots all over my cheeks, jaw and my temples. Despite rinsing properly and using LRP Effaclar Duo +  this broke me out. It was the only thing I changed in my routine... and even though I know I was struggling with my skin, this honestly did it no favours, especially since the breakouts around my temples was new. Strike Three.

A week after I stopped using it the new breakouts started clearing up. I waited for my skin to clear and then I used it again, in the mornings only and within a week I had new spots (little whiteheads) all around my temples and on my chin. I tried it for about 9 weeks, with the same results. breakout central.

I stopped using it. And let himself use it. Aaaaannnndddd it broke him out too. We didn't even finish it... I felt crappy about chucking out a half full tube of product... but it just didn't work for me and my oily combo skin.

Monday, 18 May 2015

The Body Shop: Morning Combo for my Combo Skin

My skin has mostly been playing ball the last few weeks, mostly I think due to the Vichy Normaderm Night Detox. But I have added two new products into the mix as well, giving my skin two weeks between each new product to get used to it before adding anything else, both are from The Body Shop and both are fitting in nicely.

Cleanser first: The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Foaming Cleanser (£5 / €11 eh c'meretomenow... what is up with the pricing guys??). If you don't like the smell of tea tree then this is not for you. But if you don't mind it and you don't have particularly sensitive skin (this contains menthol which creates that cooling feeling on the skin but is quite irritating to sensitive skin types) and you are worried about blemishes, then I would try it as a morning cleanser.

It comes with a pump attached to the bottle that aerates the liquid in the bottle as it comes out of the nozzle. So its already foamed. And you only need one pump to do do your face and neck.

All you need to do it apply it to your dampened face, massage it in gently to encourage your skin to divest itself of the night's products and dirt. It won't foam anymore. Himself (who has also been using this) was a bit perturbed by the fact that it wouldn't make more bubbles as he used it, but got over that when he used it and like how it worked.

It smells fresh and clean and while it is a "Foamed" cleanser, once I've used a warm wet facecloth to take it off, it doesn't leave my face feeling like its been stripped of all its moisture. Skin just feels soft and clean and ready for the next step.

Ive had this about a month now and even with himself using it occasionally, I have just under half of the bottle left. Its fit into my budget quite nicely and my skin hasn't reacted to it and I haven't had any new breakouts!

The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Foaming Cleanser Ingredients

I must just note that this is a morning cleanser for me. While it says it will "gently remove make up and impurities", it didnt really do anything except leave me with mascara in my eyebrows and lipstick around my nose. I still had to use a decent balm cleanser. But as a morning cleanser this is pretty good.

Next step: Toner! And I am loving The Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Toner (£8.50 / €11.50).

 Its not much to look at, but it does a stellar job of setting skin up for moisturiser. I have oily/combo skin but it is a bit dehydrated and even-though it doesn't feel tight once I have cleansed, it generally drinks up moisturiser as soon as its applied. The fact that in a few hours it is a greasy mess is just once of those things. I have found though, that since I have been using this toner and a decent hydrating moisturiser, my skin isn't producing as much oil as quickly. And I am getting more wear out of my foundations as a result.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Toner Ingredients

 After cleansing, I pour a little of this clear liquidy gel onto a clean cotton pad and sweep it over my face and neck, going over my cheeks and neck as I need more hydration in those areas. It is soft and gentle and doesn't sting and does what it says on the bottle. It hydrates my skin without making it feel greasy.

Vitamin E Toner comes in a 200ml flip top bottle and using it every morning and every 2nd evening I still have more than half a bottle left after having it for just over 2 months.

I've already said that it doesn't look like anything special, but this toner is scented with the iconic The Body Shop Vitamin E scent. I love it. It evokes memories of my Gran for some reason. And along with the Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil it has a permanent spot on my bathroom shelf.

I have fallen in love with The Body Shop for starter skincare steps (cleanser, toner, moisturiser) and they fit my budget nicely and there are products to suit every skin type and requirement.

The only thing I have an issue with is the euro/sterling pricing... And the fact that you can't buy online from the website. Fingers crossed this is something that will be coming soon... as it is I have to trek in to Dublin to get to my favourite products.

So you have any favourite products from The Body Shop? Anything I should try? Let me know!

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