Saturday, April 21, 2012

Shine of the Times

I've been really loving Essie nail polishes recently. They aren't available in Ireland (that I know of) so I buy mine online, the two below being my most recent purchases. Cocktail Bling is a pale grey/blue colour and Shine of the Times (another polish from the Lux Effects collection) is an opalescent top coat that can be layered over any colour you wish. I personally prefer to pair it with paler, pastel shades. I love Cocktail Bling worn alone, but I decided to try Shine of the Times over it and I thought it looked gorgeous!

Essie CB SOTT1

Essie CB SOTT2

Essie CB SOTT10

Essie CB SOTT8

Essie CB SOTT11

Essie CB SOTT7

What do you think?

Emma x

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Phoenix Park

The second day our friends were here we went to Phoenix Park in the north-west of the city. It is one of the largest enclosed city parks in Europe. It also contains the residence of the President and the US Ambassador as well as lots of deer and Dublin Zoo AND I saw Red Hot Chili Peppers play there with Pixies in 2004!

We walked around and saw the Wellington Monument, the Papal Cross (where the Pope gave an open air sermon in 1979), and the Magazine Fort (I have no idea what  a magazine fort is, all I know is it was built in the 1700s ).




The Wellington Monument which is 62 metres tall




The Magazine Fort





The black container in the photos above contained a Geocache list, we added our initials D-Lakes



The Papal Cross


Donnacha couldn't resist rolling down the hill


Ice Cream Van!





I had a lot of fun exploring Phoenix Park, to be honest I've never really walked around it before (except the zoo which isn't great). 

I hope you enjoyed my tour of this little (big) part of Dublin.

********The giveaway winners are Amber and Lucy as chosen from my trusty hat!********

Please check out their blogs if you get a chance as they are both the loveliest of girls! I will contact you both soon. I'll also be doing another giveaway next month!

How is your week going?

Emma x

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Soft Hands and A Giveaway

I love hand creams, especially when you find one that really works, smells amazing and doesn't feel greasy. I've amassed quite a collection of various brands and sizes of hand creams since over the past year, as gifts or ones I've repurchased again and again. Read on for my thoughts on the five pictured below!

Hand Creams

Burt's Bees Thoroughly Therapeutic Honey and Grapeseed Oil Hand Cream, 75ml, £9.99 

It contains jojoba, cupuacu and macadamia butters, antioxidant-rich grape seed and sunflower oils. (I looked up Cupuacu, which is a tropical rainforest tree related to cacao). I'm always interested in what ingredients are used for certain products (eg. exfoliators, facial cleansers etc.) There seems to be a pattern with certain ingredients. I got this as part of a set because I wanted to try out some more Burt's Bees products because in general I love their stuff. I'm not a huge fan of the scent of this, I love honey scented products so I'm blaming it on the Grapeseed oil (I looked this up too, it's a carrier oil which means it is used to dilute other oils and is used in cosmetics for the control of skin moisturisation. Grape seeds themselves contain anti-oxidants). The formulation is a bit too rich for me, it can be greasy, although I put it on at night so that the greasiness doesn't affect me. I wouldn't put it on during the day. That being said it definitely makes a difference to my hands, it's very moisturising and makes my hands very soft the next morning. 

Laura Mercier Creme de Pistache  Hand Creme, 50ml, €19

This also contains Grape oil as well as Olive Oil, soy proteins which are rich in amino acids and help in the repair process. The Crème de Pistache fragrance captures the essence of creamy pistachio nuts, almond, praline and hazelnut with freshly whipped cream. This scent is my absolute favourite. I can't get enough of it. Having said that I know it is probably not for everyone. At €19 for 50mls it is the most expensive of the five, but it makes a great present (my family know it's one of my favourites) or if you feel like treating yourself. This also comes in a body wash, scrub, lotion and eau de toilette (which I am dying to get!) You really get what you pay for here, I love the formula of this, it's not greasy, it sinks into the skin easliy and really moisturises your hands.

Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream, 100ml, €19

Clarins has been a long time favourite brand of mine. It started with me "borrowing" my mother's Clarins products. She has been a fan for years and uses their cleanser, toner and serums as often as she can. They are one of those brands that just make the most quality products and at prices that are not completely extortionate. I've had this hand cream at different stages over the years, this particular tube was given to me as a gift for my birthday last year so it really does last a long time and I think €19 for 100mls is pretty good for one of the best hand creams on the market. This seems to be a bit of a secret in that it's been around for ages but never really gets talked about, well that I've seen anyway. It contains sesame oil and Japanese mulberry which are supposed to form a protective "glove" around the hands to shield from the elements, it also reduces the signs of aging AND strengthens nails and conditions cuticles. What more could you ask for? It's just a damn good hand cream! Oh and it smells really natural and Clarinsy (if you've ever used Beauty Flash balm you'll know what I mean). 

L'Occitane Cooling Hand Cream Gel, 75ml, €19.95

L'Occitane products are a recent enough discovery for me. I got a free hand cream in a magazine and ever since I've been hooked. I love their Honey hand cream, the Lavender and the plain ole Shea Butter. This cooling hand cream gel with Organic Verbena extract (what the heck is that you might ask?!) It comes from a flowering plant in Corsica apparently. All I know is it smells citrusy and I love that! It's supposed to refresh hands by leaving a powdery finish on them and reduces feelings of moisture and swelling. Personally I don't find this moisturising enough for me but I suppose that's the point. I'd imagine it would feel very refreshing for someone who works intricately with their hands or perhaps suffers from joint pain or arthritis. I highly rate L'Occitane hand creams in general, but this isn't for my particular hand needs.

Soap and Glory Hand Food, 50ml €3

This is by far the best "drugstore" hand cream. At €3 for 50ml it's six times less expensive than the Laura Mercier one and to be honest is just as good. I absolutely love how this smells, it has that Soap and Glory 'Original Pink' scent which according to them has orange leaf, lemon, peach, sweet strawberries, summer rose, gardenia blooms and jasmine. Wow! It contains shea butter, macadamia oil and marshmallow. Yes, marshmallow! It comes in a 125ml tube too, but I like the 50ml because it's the perfect handbag size. 

So there you have it! My opinions on some of my favourite hand creams. Click the links above to find out more on the brands websites. 

What hand cream are you using at the moment? Do you have any suggestions for me to try?

Now for the fun bit, I'm going to giveaway two of the 50ml Soap and Glory hand creams! So there will be two winners who will receive one tube each. To enter just leave me a comment and tell me what your favourite scent is ( I'm so nosey about these things) and an email address ( if you don't have a blogger profile/blog) for me to contact you if you win!

The giveaway will close at 12am GMT on Tuesday the 17th.  *** Open Internationally too!***

Hope you're all having a great week so far!

Emma x

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Such Great Heights

I was thinking about not bothering with any posts on my week of fun with my American friends but it was such a great week and I got to do and see some great things around Dublin and Ireland that I just had to share some of the sights with you all.

These photos are all from the first day when we went for brunch, took a long walk along the canal, went on a Ferris Wheel, took a quick walk around the Natural History Museum (and that night not pictured, had some wine and played games).



Brunch in the Lennox Café at Portobello. I had French toast and eggs.



You will have to watch this video, then this one, then the other parts of the first one to get what Big Joe is in reference to. If you don't want to I'll just say it's about Irish Travellers family wars and I applaud anyone who can understand what they are saying. 



Patrick Kavanagh bench by the canal


A derelict Undertakers



Katie and Ashley doing the Macarena. 


St. Patrick's Festival in Merrion Square




How creepy is this?


We met Eric and Kate




This is genuine terror on my face






"You don't even blink do you?"






Donnacha and I talked a bit about being nervous about the girls visit and worried we wouldn't click as well as we did when we first met (which was for a few days in December 2010). We needn't have been though as we fell straight into joking and laughing and messing around. I'm so thankful we accidentally met these girls on a night out a year and a bit ago, but it makes me sad that we can't just hang out whenever we want. It just makes me even more determined to save to visit them. 

More photos from the week coming soon!

This is a bit of an aside, I wanted to update you about my work situation seeing as I mentioned it a few posts ago. The past few weeks in work have been full of ups and downs, mostly downs to be honest. After such a great week off, coming back to the possibility of bad news was very daunting and I spent most of the week with the sick feeling in my stomach. We each had individual meetings with our manager to get the outcome of our scores according to the feedback forms we filled out. I had mine on the Thursday and I'm so thankful because I got the exact contract I wanted. I was so relieved but the feelings of happiness I had were short-lived with the news that several of my colleagues are going to lose their jobs and others' positions are up in the air as they've been downgraded and are unsure as to what to do.

It's a horrible thing to have to watch others going through disappointment, anger and uncertainty and especially considering there are things that were not dealt with correctly and people have suffered because of that. I'm sorry for being so cryptic but as the process is ongoing I don't want anyone involved to read this and get upset. The branch is losing some of it's best employees who I know have gone above and beyond with customer service and have made the company a lot of money so to us it makes no sense. All I can say is that it is their loss and it will be hard working without those colleagues who I get on with so well and rely on as part of the team so much.

Anyway, I hope you are all having a nice Easter weekend and eating lots of chocolate!

Emma x
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