Thursday, July 21, 2016

Powerscourt Estate and Gardens

If you saw my latest outfit post you'll know that we visited Powercourt Estate and Gardens back in June. It was a beautiful day so I brought my camera with me to document our trip. I had wanted to visit Powerscourt for years but I'd never gotten around to it and it's under an hour away from Dublin so I had no excuse. I had seen countless photos of the estate and the gardens over the years but seeing it all in person blew me away.

Powerscourt estate was originally commissioned to be built on the site of a medieval castle in 1741 by the 1st Viscount of Powerscourt. Over the years an extra storey was added and it was was majorly refurbished in the late 19th century. In 1961 the Slazenger family bought it from the 9th Viscount Powerscourt. They spent the next 13 years restoring the house with the purpose of opening it as a tourist attraction but sadly in 1974 a fire broke out in the house leaving it in ruins for over 20 years. Thankfully the house has since been completely restored and in 1997 it was finally opened to the public.

Over the years Powerscourt has served as the location for many films and television productions beginning with Laurence Olivier's Henry V in 1944. Before the fire in 1974 it was the location for Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon and since then The Count of Monte Cristo, King Arthur, Ella Enchanted and Tudors have all been partly filmed there. 

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These photographs don't do it justice but hopefully you can get some idea of how beautiful the place is, I'd love to go back in Winter to see it with all of the bare trees.

Visiting places like this makes me feel a little guilty that it's taken me so long to make a trip there but also excited that I live in a country with such a rich history and culture. I hope I continue with my exploration of Ireland, next on my list is the Giant's Causeway.

Have any of you been to Powerscourt or is there any famous places or tourist attractions in Ireland that you haven't yet visited and would like to?

Emma x

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Grandiôse Eyes With Lancôme

I recently went to a press reveal of the latest launches from Lancôme- Grandiôse Liner, Grandiôse Extrême Mascara and Sourcils Styler Brow Mascara. I've been trying out all three products for a couple of weeks now and I can safely say I'm a big fan of all three.


Beginning with what I think is the most exciting of the three new releases, the Grandiôse Liner. The unique selling point of this liner is the wand. It clicks to a 35 degree angle so that it can be used either straight or curved making application much easier for the user. It also has a densely pigmented, matte formula for extra drama. 


It comes in three shades Carbon Black, Deep Brown and Sapphire Blue. I have the deep brown shade and although I would usually go for black, the brown is very dark, almost black but not as dramatic as a full on black which I actually liked more than I thought I would. I think it makes it more wearable for anyone who is a little shy about trying winged liner. 


I like to think I'm a bit of an expert when it comes to liquid liner. I've tried so many different brands and brushes over the years and some of my favourites include Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Liner in Perversion (which I have heard might be discontinued and if it is I will be devastated!) and L'Oréal Super Liner. Grandiôse is definitely up there with the best. I'm all about getting a sharp line as quickly and easily as possible and this does just that. I was sceptical at first about the angled wand, thinking it could just be a marketing gimmick but I was quickly proven wrong. I was genuinely surprised by how much easier it was to apply by bending the wand for certain parts of the application and clicking it straight again at other times. 


The brush is flexible and comes to a really thin point making it a lot easier to get a really sharp line. It also deposits just the right amount of liquid which is something I've found to be a big problem with a lot of the other liquid liners I've tried. You'll probably need to shake it up again to continue the application depending on how long and thick you want the line to be. 


I find that the formula is opaque from the first application which again is something that doesn't happen with other liners. I love that this dries to a matte finish, I don't think I've ever gotten a matte finish from a liquid liner but I think it just looks so much nicer than an eyeliner that dries to a more shiny finish. As for staying power, it's not waterproof but it is smudge proof and very long-lasting as I found out when I first swatched all three shades on my hand at the press meeting. I washed my hands several times without the lines budging and I actually ended up taking them off with make up remover that night. 


Grandiôse Liner is priced at €29 and it available now at Brown Thomas and in Debenhams, Boots and all Lancôme counters from July 1st. 


Grandiôse Extrême promises to be an amped up version of the original Grandiôse Mascara. If you've used the latter you'll know that it already packed quite a punch, but this new formula and brush give your lashes even more impact. The first difference is that it comes in sleek matte black packaging. The Swan-Neck wand is the same as before and allows for all different eye shapes to apply the mascara from inner to outer corner with ease. I find the brush is shorter than most other mascaras that I've used which allows you to get right into the inner corner. The bristles are more tightly packed which gives more volume particularly if you rest the brush at the base of the lashes and wiggle it through to the tips of the hairs (a top tip from Lancôme make up artist Laura Pye). With this technique I find you get amazing volume and because the formula is that perfect middle ground of not being to wet or too dry, you can apply a second coat with ease if you want even more volume. You can see in the photo below that my lashes are volumised, lengthened and defined but not clumpy. 


The formula is smudge resistant and lasts up to 24 hours. I don't get any transfer under my eyes throughout the day, whether it last 24 hours I can't tell you because I don't know anyone who wears mascara for 24 hour straight, so I'll have to take their word for it. This could be a good one for people who want long lasting wear but hate the fuss of waterproof mascaras. I'm so impressed with this mascara, it's one of the few that I'd happily wear alone with no other eye make up as it gives such impact to your lashes. The closest I've come to it at a lower price point is the Bourjois Volume Clubbing mascara which has a much bigger brush and is nowhere near as easy to apply. 


Grandiôse Extrême is priced at €31 and is available at Brown Thomas now and in Boots and Debenhams from July 1st. 


Last up is the new brow mascara Sourcils Styler, which has been co-created with Lancôme creative director Lisa Eldridge so I had high expectations. At first glance I thought it was just going to be your average Brow Mascara, nothing special and certainly not warranting the €25.50 price tag. However the more I use this in comparison to the other brow mascaras I have, the more impressed I am with it's design. One of the most annoying things I find about brow mascaras is that they deposit too much product and it ends up making the skin around your brows look grubby. That doesn't happen with this brow mascara. The design of the brush is inspired by that of a hairbrush so it colours the hair and not the skin. It's recommended that you brush against the hairs to add density and then in the direction of the hairs for definition and hold. 


The formula is meant to hold for up to 14 hours and it's smudge resistant so it's been great in the heat.  The brush is fanned out so that it can be used on it's side for smaller brows and on the tapered end of the brow to add definition. It comes in four shades, Transparent, Blond, Châtain and Brun. I was given the shade Châtain which is a light brown and I find it quite similar to my natural brow colour. I obviously have quite thick brows already, but that's why I love a product like this. I don't need to do a huge amount to my brows, I just need something to add a little thickness and to define and hold them in place all day. This is such a time saver compared with using a brow crayon, pencil or powder. It literally takes a second to brush this on and I'm good to go. However I can see why this also may be a reason why someone wouldn't like a product like this, if your brows need a bit more filling in you may want to use this in conjunction with a pencil or powder. 


Is it worth the €25.50 price point? I firmly believe that it is. Having tried similar products and considering the thought that has gone into it's design I feel like this is a superior brow product to others on the market. Eyebrows are such an important part of the face and when done badly, they can really affect the rest of the make up. I don't think you can go wrong with a product like this, it's foolproof. Before I got this I was using the Bourjois Brow Design which is the same idea as Sourcils Styler. You can see me wearing it on my brows here. I love the finished result of it, the shade is darker as you can see but it can be difficult to use as the brush is longer (as long as a standard mascara brush) and it deposits too much formula which transfers onto the skin around my brows and because the formula is waterproof you actually need make up remover to get it off. I love that the Sourcils Styler is completely fuss free and easy to apply, it's perfect for everyday use when I'm in a hurry and haven't got time for tricky products.

Sourcils Styler is available now in Brown Thomas and Boots and in Debenhams from July 1st.

Check out the magnificent Lisa Eldridge herself using all three products:

What do you think of these products? Is there any you'd be interested in trying or do you have any current favourite liners, mascaras or brow products?

Emma x

Monday, June 20, 2016

You're The Tall Kingdom I Surround

I was off work a few weeks ago and by some miracle the weather was glorious for the whole week. We took full advantage and went on a few day trips, one of which was to Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow. I've wanted to visit Powerscourt for years after seeing how beautiful it looked in photographs and it didn't disappoint. Granted, it probably helped that it was one of the most stunning days we've had in Ireland in the past few years. It really felt like we were on holiday in a foreign country rather than an hour outside Dublin. 

I took lots of photos of the house and it's grounds and gardens which I plan on sharing in a separate post, but for now here are some photos of the outfit I wore on our day out. I wasn't actually planning on taking outfit photos but I couldn't resist making use of such a breathtaking backdrop. 

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Kimono- New Look (similar here, here, here and here)
Top- New Look
Jeans- Dorothy Perkins
Sandals- Birkenstock Rio
Earrings- H&M (similar here, here, here and here)
Bag- Stella and Dot Waverley Petite
Bracelet- Stella and Dot Becker Cuff
Sunglasses- ASOS
Lipstick- MAC Ruby Woo
Nails- Max Factor Gel Shine Lacquer in Vivid Vermillion

I don't usually like to wear my hair up as it makes me feel a little exposed, however in the hot weather it becomes a necessity. I'm not great at experimenting with my hair but if I absolutely have to wear it up I try to do something a bit more interesting than a ponytail. These milkmaid braids are about as much as I can manage with my limited skills. It's fast and easy to do and keeps my long hair out of my face in the heat so it's been my go-to style for wearing my hair up in the Summer.

This kimono is actually a beach cover up I got in New Look last year. I like that I can throw it on over a plain outfit in the Summer and it gives me a little bit of extra protection from the sun but it's really lightweight so I don't get too warm. The earrings are from H&M last year and I think that's where my love of tassel earrings began. I used to be crazy about big earrings years ago. I don't wear them all that much any more but I think having my hair up lends itself to big earrings and these really are statement ones.

I've wanted to feature my Birkenstock sandals on the blog since I got them last year. I suffer with Heel Spurs and I wear insoles in my shoes every day to give me proper arch support otherwise I'm crippled with pain. I was really struggling every Summer to find sandals that had inbuilt arch support and weren't completely hideous. This is where the Birkenstocks come in. I was recommended them by my boyfriend's dad who has problems with his feet. So when I saw some classic black Birkenstock Arizona sandals in TK Maxx at a reduced price I bought them to try out. I was delighted with how comfortable they were on my banjaxed feet. Soon after that I bought these Rio ones and they're just as comfortable. It's so nice being able to wear sandals and not worry about my feet being in pain. The silver and copper ones are next on my list.

This trip to Powerscourt got me thinking about how we're generally quite bad at being tourists in our own cities and countries even though there is so much to see and do in every corner of the world. I was wondering if you have any places you haven't been in your town/city/country that you have wanted to visit for years but haven't yet?

Emma x

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Lancôme Miracle Air De Teint

This is actually the only foundation I've ever bought on a whim. When I went to Liverpool back in February I stupidly decided to not bring any foundation with me but instead to buy Estée Lauder Double Wear Light at the airport as I had just run out of it. Of course the inevitable happened and they didn't have any, apparently it isn't stocked in Duty Free anymore. I had to quickly look around and choose a foundation so I had something to use on my trip.

Having never tried a Lancôme foundation I went to that stand first and had a couple of choices in my hand but in the end what sold me on Miracle Air de Teint was that it had the lightest coverage (I like that they have a coverage guide on the front of the box of each of their foundations) and claimed to give the skin a matte glow with blurring technology.


I was immediately intrigued when I read "matte glow creator" on the box, after all who doesn't want their skin glowing but not oily looking? I loved the idea that it was supposed to feel light but also skin perfecting. There were no sales assistants nearby so I decided to shade match myself without even looking up reviews online. I went for the palest shade that was on the stand, which it turns out is actually the third lightest shade but is surprisingly quite a good match for me,  if anything it was possibly ever so slightly too dark on me, but not very noticeably especially once blended out and with the rest of my make up applied.


The only thing that concerned me right before I took it to the checkout was the packaging. It comes in a glass bottle which is not the most ideal packaging for travelling with but it wasn't a huge concern. To apply the foundation, it's recommended you shake it up first. I usually then apply to my fingers with the dropper and pat around my face before blending with my Zoeva Silk Finish Brush (which by the way is an unbelievable brush!). Lancôme recommend blending with your fingers but I find the brush the easiest way to get the best finish.

I was smitten from the first time I used this, because it has a thinner formula, it blended out incredibly easily but you still get a medium coverage. It feels beautifully light on my skin, like velvet. You get such a gorgeous finish from this so quickly, it's such a pleasure to apply, definitely the easiest foundation to blend that I have ever used. It also has a light rosy scent as is the case with most Lancôme products but I don't find it strong enough to be offensive.


I have no idea how it works but Lancôme have used new technology that blurs imperfections in the skin and a powder that is 25 times lighter than that in a normal foundation so it feels lightweight but keeps the skin mattified yet radiant.

What initially seemed completely contradictory somehow works and I think you'll agree after looking at the photos below that my skin does look both matte and glowing.

Bare Moisturised Skin

As you can see my skin has a few more freckles than usual but I think it actually helps to see the true coverage more clearly.  My complexion is even and my pores and blemishes are blurred but you can still see my skin through it which is exactly what I like in a foundation.

Only Foundation

Even though it mattifies my skin, I still powder the centre of my face as my nose always gets oily throughout the day. However it's not completely necessary, especially if you have dry skin. I find it lasts really well all day, it doesn't separate or sit in my pores and it keeps oil under control as well as Double Wear light which I never thought I would find in another foundation. 

I have combination skin so I can suffer with dryness but I haven't found that to be an issue whatsoever. If you have dehydrated or dry skin I think you could definitely wear this, I would just make sure you're using a hydrating serum if you're concerned with it clinging to dry patches on your skin. It also contains SPF 15 so it's been great in the hot weather having a foundation with SPF that keeps my skin a lot more matte than my other foundations. 

Full make up with powder on the T-Zone

It was quite risky of me to pay for a high end foundation that I knew nothing about and shade match myself, but I'm delighted that I did because I'll definitely be repurchasing this once I run out.

I'm also wearing Urban Decay Naked Basics 2 palette, 24/7 Liquid Eye Liner in Perversion, Afterglow Blush in Score, Bourjois Volume Clubbing Mascara (which is my current favourite), Clarins Instant Concealer and Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk.

Miracle Air de Teint is available in Boots, Debenhams and Brown Thomas for approximately €39 and at The Loop at Dublin Airport for about €33.15.

Have you tried this or any other of Lancôme's foundations?

Emma x
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