Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Beauty Blogger's Handbag Essentials

Last week I met fellow Irish blogger Colette from Wide-Eyed and Blind for drinks in the trendy new Dublin restaurant and bar Roberta's. We'd met at a few events before and always got chatting so we arranged to meet for coffee to talk about collaborating on a blog post. Colette had the idea that we would go somewhere for after work drinks and bring along our little bag of essentials that we have with us on days when we need to freshen up during or after work. There are lots of times when I'll go to a press event before, during or straight after work (I actually attended an event during my lunch break today as it happens) and on those days I'll bring a certain few products with me to make sure I'm looking (and smelling) as fresh as I can be. I'm always curious as to what's in a person's handbag makeup bag because to me those products are a good indication of trusted, failsafe products that you rely on every day. 


Let's start with my makeup bag which is from Stella and Dot and was a gift from my sister. This version is currently sold out but they have similar ones here and let me tell you they're so worth it. I love the size of this one, its sturdy and structured and you can fit a lot in despite it actually being quite small. In fact this is the makeup bag I brought with me to New York and I fit all of my makeup (except brushes) in it no problem. I usually bring a smaller pouch with me if I'm using a smaller bag but this is the one I use if I have my backpack with me. 

I always have a few self explanatory essentials with me including tissues, chewing gum, a nail file (because my nails always break in work), a hair tie, earphones (these bluetooth ones have changed my life and they come in a handy pouch) and blotting papers. These Essence Oil Control Papers are so inexpensive, I think they're about €1.50 in Penneys, but they're great for anyone who gets oily during the day and wants to get rid of any excess oil before powdering. For powder I have the Soap and Glory One Heck of a Blot which I don't use that often but it has a mirror which is another absolute essential because I'm always getting lipstick on my teeth!

Another makeup refreshing essential is MAC Prep + Prime Fix+, this is the travel size which is €10 and it's great if you feel like your makeup is looking dull or if you just want to refresh your skin. It's a hydrating liquid that has green tea, chamomile and cucumber in it as well as vitamins and minerals. There's plenty of other similar products like the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray which is another favourite of mine and again comes in a handbag friendly travel size for €12. I don't usually bring any base products with me as I tend to use products that last throughout the day anyway. The only other makeup fixing tool I have with me is a Real Techniques Mini Miracle Eraser Sponge. These are great for getting rid of any under eye creasing or mascara/eye shadow fall down or smudges and it's also useful for blending and buffing out any product that you've applied too much of without realising it. You get two in a pack and I use one for blending my concealer and then I keep the other in my handbag. 


I seem to have (only) five lip products with me here. First up is the YSL Top Secrets Lip Perfector which you can read more about in my review here. This is an essential first step for keeping my lips smooth, soft and hydrated all day in work and is the perfect base for any lipstick. Another similar product is the MAC Prep + Prime Lip Base which again I've written about here. This is the eighth one I've had in two years, so if you're a lipstick fanatic like me this is a must have. I usually have one lip colour for daytime and one for after work emergencies. Here I have Glossier Generation G in Crush which is a raspberry pink that has a sheer matte formula. I'll be writing a full review of this so I won't say too much for now except that it's such a gorgeous sheer colour and it's so easy to apply. 

The second more bright lipstick is Lady Danger by MAC and it's the most recent addition to my lip collection. I actually got it for free with Back to MAC mostly thanks to my stash of the Lip Base empties. You can see it in action here. I also bring my Sephora retractable lip brush with me for occasions where I might need to apply a bold lipstick on the go. This is my number one way to take daytime makeup to nighttime makeup in one step. 

One product I always have with me in my bag is a perfume. At the moment I'm wearing Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules. This has been a favourite of mine for a few years now and the 30ml refill is such a handy size for my makeup bag. This is probably my most repurchased scent and if you haven't tried it yet, I highly suggest giving it a sniff next time you're near a stockist. 

My final product is this sample size hand balm from Rituals. This is the Ayurveda scent that has sweet almond oil and Indian rose and if you haven't tried anything from Rituals yet, every one of their products smells unbelievably good. I get very dry skin on my hands and I use their Soothing Night Balm on my hands every night and I don't think I've ever used anything that heals my hands like it. Do yourself a favour and check out Rituals if you haven't already, they're probably my favourite body care brand. 

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As you can see Colette's product selection is a lot more streamlined than mine and what I really loved is that a lot of her products are multi-functional. Her little leather pouch is from COS and again it fits in a lot more than you'd think. The Boohoo sunglasses are self-explanatory (I always have sunglasses in my bag too) especially at this time of year when it's so bright outside (well, sometimes). 

Hand sanitiser is probably a handbag essential for most people, except me because I don't care about hygiene (JK, obviously). Next is this Eco Lips Medicinal Lip Balm that has tea tree oil, lemon balm and calendula in it and as Colette says it's cheap and cheerful, organic and cruelty free. The second lip product in her stash is the Boots Soltan Moisturising Suncare Stick with SPF 30. This is something I always forget about like most people I'm sure, but it's so important to make sure your lips are protected from the sun as the skin on your lips is some of the most delicate on your body and is easily susceptible to sun damage. Rant over.

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Next up we have two multi-purpose products, the Wet n Wild Megaglo Cheek and Lip Tint and the Body Shop Lip and Cheek Stain. Although Colette said she only uses the Wet n Wild one on her cheeks as she doesn't like how it looks on her lips and vice versa for The Body Shop tint. She uses it over lip balm in the centre of her lips for a gradient effect (a look I totally love) but not on her cheeks as again she doesn't find it works that well on the cheeks. Another multi-purpose products is the Youngblood Brow Artiste Kit which contains two shades of powder, a tinted wax, a mini tweezers and a dual ended brush. Colette said she really loves this and uses it all the time and even sometimes uses the brow powder as liner to add some definition to her eyes of she's going out after work. 

You might be wondering what the funny little compact is with the face on it (I was too). It's the Klairs Mochi BB Cushion. Klairs is a brand I hadn't heard of before but after having a look at the website and reading up on them, it seems like a brand I can get behind. They're focused on simple products for sensitive skin with natural, effective and cruelty free ingredients. I'm really curious to try it now after seeing it in person and reading some reviews. 

The last products in Colette's bag is the & Other Stories Punk Bouquet Mini Hand Cream which smells incredible! I keep meaning to go in and buy one because it's only €5. I haven't actually bought anything from & Other Stories yet but any of the beauty products I've tried so far smell so good. It's a brand I definitely want to try some more. 

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I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into our makeup bags, I'd love to know what your essentials are.

You can read Colette's post here, check out her gorgeous Instagram too!

Emma x

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Your Skin But Better- IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream With SPF 50+

I'm sure at this stage most of you reading this are familiar with the brand IT Cosmetics. I was introduced to them in the past couple of years due to their Your Skin But Better CC Cream which has become a bit of a cult beauty product amongst bloggers and YouTubers. 

I think I first heard of the CC Cream a couple of years ago from Lily or Anna and then again from the lovely Lorraine of John, It's Only Makeup. There are two versions of it, the normal one and then the CC+ Illumination which is infused with 'Drops of Light Technology' for a subtle touch of radiance. I have the normal one as I generally tend to add any illumination I desire with a liquid or cream highlighter afterwards however I think the Illumination version could be amazing for the Winter months so I think I'll try it out later in the year. 


This was at the top of my list of products to buy when I was in New York. I couldn't find it in Sephora at first, but when I asked a sales assistant if they stocked it she informed me it was in the skincare aisle. I thought it might be interesting (to some of you) to go into some detail about IT Cosmetics as they're a company I wasn't really all that familiar with until I started researching for this post. 

The company's co-founder Jamie Kern Lima founded IT (Innovative Technology) Cosmetics after working as a news anchor for years and having to wear layers of makeup to cover her Rosacea. She began working with leading plastic surgeons to develop clinically proven, innovative and problem solving makeup that will give you "compliments on your skin, not your makeup". 

I really like the story behind this brand, Jamie Kern Lima had an issue with her skin and couldn't find a product that suited her needs so she sought to create one. The second most viewed blog post I've ever written is a review of the La Roche-Posay Rosalie CC Cream which I can imagine is because so many Irish women (and men) suffer from Rosacea. One of the key ingredients in the La Roche-Posay CC Cream is Ambophenol which is an anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce the redness associated with Rosacea. The IT Cosmetics CC Cream however uses Turmeric Root Extract which again is an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant that helps with rosacea, eczema and acne as it contains an ingredient that helps to fight bacteria that can lead to breakouts. 


So what is this CC Cream supposed to do for your skin? It's meant to offer full coverage, which I can attest to as it's easily buildable. I recommend applying thin layers and building them up as desired. The formula is so hydrating that it doesn't look at all heavy even after a few layers. If my skin is looking a bit red or if I'm suffering from breakouts I can build this up in the areas of my face that need a bit of extra coverage. It has SPF 50 with UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection, it has a brightening colour corrector which helps to cover and correct any redness or pigmentation. It contains a hydrating anti-aging serum. One of the main ingredients is snail secretion filtrate, which sounds gross, but is a big ingredient in Korean beauty and skincare products. It contains ingredients that are very beneficial to the skin including hyaluronic acid (which restores hydration), it also stimulates the production of collagen and elastin as well as repairs damaged skin. So although the term "anti-aging" really annoys me, I can overlook it if the product contains ingredients that actually help to prevent pre-mature skin aging. 

If you're going to be outside exposed to the sun, you need to remember to reapply this every 2 hours, one of the things about wearing SPF 50 is that it's easy to forget that you do need to top it up. This can also be done with SPF mists if you don't want to disturb your makeup too much. This would be an excellent choice for anyone with sensitive skin, rosacea prone, acne prone or if you have any pigmentation as it offers coverage, protection and prevents further damage. 


As you can see it comes in super travel friendly packaging, the tube is plastic AND it has a pump. It also comes in a very handy travel size version which is 12ml and $15, so it's perfect for holidays or if you just want to try out this product without committing to the 32ml full size that costs $38. It also has a light scent, nothing offensive, I actually quite like it. 

The one drawback that I can see is that the shade range is limited at only 7 shades, they actually only recently added a couple of new shades to the range. I have the very lightest shade Fair, which is a perfect match for me but as with most brands, they could definitely have one or two shades even lighter especially as I feel like Irish women (and any women with very fair skin) would love this product because of the excellent correcting and protecting ingredients. 


In the photos above I've only applied one layer just so you can get idea of what the coverage is like. It blends like a dream, I tend to just use a brush but I'm sure you could use a Beauty Blender for a more full coverage finish. I find it lasts very well on my combination skin. I've tried it without powder and I did get quite oily on my t-zone during the day which is normal for me but if I use powder on those areas it lasts a lot longer without needing to blot. I'd imagine if you have oily skin you might need to use a magnifying primer or powder all over. But like I said already if you're not sure but you really want to try it out, that 12ml travel size is a great option.

I absolutely love this, I'm so impressed with everything about it, the ingredients, the coverage, the packaging and the shade match for my skin. I'll definitely be repurchasing it once I run out.

IT Cosmetics are now available from Selfridges and QVC in the UK and Sephora in the US priced at £30/$38.

At the moment the only site that stocks IT Cosmetics and ships to Ireland is Beautylish which is great because I didn't think we could get hold of them here at all. I'm dying to try the Bye Bye Under Eye Anti-Aging Concealer and the CC+ Eye Correcting Concealer as well as lots of other products. So if you have any recommendations of their products for me to try next, please let me know.

Have you tried this yet or are you interested in trying it?

Emma x

Thursday, June 22, 2017

What I've Been Loving Recently #3

Like last month I was worried I wouldn't have that much to write about for June's instalment of What I've Been Loving Recently, but I should realise by now I consume so much popular culture that I'll always have recommendations to write about. Here's what I've been loving over the past month or so. 


I'll start with television as usual, or should I say Netflix. I adore a good true crime documentary and a series is even better. I had heard about The Keepers a few months ago and I was eager for it to be added to Netflix at the end of May. I didn't read too much about it or watch the trailer because I didn't want to spoil anything for myself. I knew the basics which is all I'm going to tell you here because I always feel like it's best to know as little as possible about a documentary (or anything for that matter) before you watch it. The Keepers is the story of Sister Cathy Cesnick who was murdered in 1969 in Baltimore, Maryland. As the story progresses, we learn of the horrific abuse that went on in the school where Cathy worked as a teacher and which may have ultimately lead to her being murdered. I don't want to give away anything else but that's the basic story. Just to warn you, it's a harrowing, hard to watch documentary and if you have bad feelings about the Catholic church as it is, this series will only strengthen and cement those feelings. I cried a lot watching it, it broke my heart to hear of such incomprehensible suffering. If you can stomach it, I feel like it's a very important story to know about and sadly it's probably one of many many more stories like it.


Next up is the tv show I've been excited to see since it was announced a couple of years ago. The Twin Peaks revival started on Showtime at the end of May and so far seven episodes have aired. I was so nervous that I wasn't going to like it after completely loving the original series, but I'm blown away by how David Lynch has brought the story back and taken it so much further. If you haven't seen the original Twin Peaks, it begins with the discovery of the body of Laura Palmer, a teen girl who has been murdered in a small town called Twin Peaks. FBI Agent Dale Cooper arrives in the town to investigate her murder and the rest is history. The first season is pretty straight forward, the second goes a bit mad and this recent incarnation is just completely nuts but in a good way. You will most definitely either love or hate it, there's no in between. The story continues 25 years from where it left off and there's a whole host of new characters added into the mix. There are lots of famous faces in this new series including Laura Dern, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried and Michael Cera. I'm so excited to see what happens, the first episode was crazy and I had no idea what was going on but slowly pieces of the story are being revealed. If you loved Twin Peaks and if you love the films of David Lynch you'll definitely love this. I have haven't seen the original two seasons, I'd recommend watching them, I know it won't be to everyones taste but it's definitely worth a try. 


Anyone who is a fan of Tina Fey and watched 30 Rock, will no doubt have seen Netflix's The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. If you haven't, it's a comedy about a woman who was help captive in a bunker for 15 years by a doomsday cult leader played by Jon Hamm. The show begins with her moving to New York after escaping from the bunker, and moving into a basement apartment with an aspiring actor named Titus Andromedon (who is probably my favourite character). She has to learn to be an adult in the real world after growing up isolated from the world and as expected the results are hilarious. If you loved 30 Rock, you'll definitely love this because it has the same Tina Fey stupidly clever sense of humour. The above photo shows Titus's tribute to Beyoncés Lemonade which is so funny. We just finished the third season and I already want to see more because I love it so much. I think this most recent season has been my favourite so far (I mean, it features Fred Armisen as serial killer Robert Durst dating one of the main characters!). If that doesn't convince you, nothing will. 


Silicon Valley is a HBO show that's currently in its fourth season. It's a comedy about a group of computer programmers attempting to become the next big thing in the tech world with their data compression app. It was created by Mike Judge who is famous for Beavis and Butt-head, King of the Hill, Office Space and Idiocracy which he has either created, written or directed. The show is basically about the guys trying to get backers and funding and having everything go wrong, go right and go wrong again. It's hilarious, but yet again, a specific type of humour that you'll either like or you won't. Then again, it's HBO so you're pretty much guaranteed it's going to be good. It's definitely not my favourite comedy show, but it's consistently funny and I'd watch anything Mike Judge does because I think he's a comedy genius. 


Wonder Woman is pretty much the only film I saw this month worth writing about. I actually watched Brooklyn too (and rewatched a few other things). I really enjoyed Brooklyn, a lot more than I thought I would. But onto Wonder Woman. So I think everyone can agree that the DC film offerings haven't been great lately. I didn't even bother watching Man of Steel or Batman v Superman. To be honest I'd rather watch the Animated Batman, the Adam West one or the Adventures of Lois and Clark. I was praying that Wonder Woman would redeem the DC world and it totally did. It exceeded my expectations, mostly because I didn't get my hopes up. Incredible casting first of all. Gal Gadot is perfect in the role. She's funny and strong and STUNNING and smart. Chris Pine is the most adorable actor of all time and Robin Wright is just as amazing as ever. It was heartwarming and a lot funnier than I had ever thought it would be and just totally empowering. It's so great to see a comic book movie with a female lead that's actually just a very good film. It's about time! 

It's been six years since the last Fleet Foxes album, Helplessness Blues and their third album Crack Up was only released last week but has already become a favourite. I love their first two albums and have seen them play a few times (and I'll be seeing them again next month) so I was really hoping that after waiting for six years, this album would be great. I've only listened to it fully a few times so far but I'm already excited to see them play the songs live.

I saw Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes frontman) supporting Joanna Newsom last year which I only found out on the day of the gig and I was so excited because I hadn't heard anything about the band in years and didn't even know if they'd be releasing another album. Seeing him solo was an incredible experience, his voice is just so beautiful, I would have sat there and listened to him play by himself all night. He's got one of those voices that sounds so much better in person. My boyfriend listened to the album before me and said he loved it but he said he couldn't hum or sing one song to me. It hasn't got the obvious singles that the previous albums had but I really love that. It's complex and beautifully written and I want to listen to it and read the lyrics and study them. If you haven't listened to them yet and you're looking for some new music, check out their first album, it's still one of my all time favourites. 


My final favourite of this month is Radiohead. I saw them live this past Tuesday night and it was unbelievable. This was only my second time seeing them live and I was completely blown away. It was such a emotional experience, I found myself welling up several times during the show, particularly when they played one of my favourites, Let Down and then again with Fake Plastic Trees. The first album of theirs that I listened to was The Bends and it's probably still my favourite. They're one of those bands that I always take for granted how good they are and how many amazing songs and albums they have. 

So that's what I've been loving recently. I finished the Handmaid's Tale which I wrote about last month and it blew me away, I just want more and more of the story. I'm still listening to My Favorite Murder, in fact I just listened to the 50th episode so I'm catching up quite quickly. If you've seen or heard any of these do let me know in the comments or if you have anything that you've been really loving recently and think I'd like, please let me know! 

You can read the first two WILR posts here and here.

Emma x

Sunday, June 18, 2017

New York- Part Two

If you haven't seen it already, last week I wrote the first part of my New York series. I'm aware it was rather long, but I wanted it to be as informative as possible and it seemed to go down well. I've really been enjoying going through all of the photos and trying to remember what we did each day, it's a great way to relive the trip but it makes me desperately want to plan a second visit. 

Hopefully I can keep this part a bit shorter. On our fourth day we decided to get the subway into Manhattan and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. In retrospect, this was a stupid idea because it was another ridiculously hot day despite the cloud cover but we survived with the help of lots of sunscreen, water and light clothes. We got off at Canal Street and walked about ten minutes to the Manhattan side of the bridge. The nice weather meant that everyone else seemed to have the same idea and at first it was slow going because of the amount of people in front of us but it slowly tapered off and we were able to enjoy the walk at our own pace without being surrounded by people. 

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I think if you were to walk the bridge without stopping it would take around 25-30 minutes but of course we stopped several times along the way to take photos and just take in the views so it probably took us an hour or so. Because it was so hot we didn't walk as fast as we normally would. You can also cycle across, there is a dedicated cyclist path which runs parallel to the pedestrian path and it can get crowded so be aware of that if you're planning on walking the bridge on a busier day. 

We didn't really have any plans once we got to Brooklyn. After our long walk in the sun we both just wanted to sit down and get some lunch so we went to Shake Shack which I've heard so many people rave about. I'll go into more detail about our trip to Shake Shack in my New York food post which will be coming soon. 

After refuelling we decided to walk around DUMBO. We just wandered in and out of little shops and stopped to take photos because everything looks amazing and is so photographable in this area. We also took some photos for a style post which you can see here if you haven't seen it already. I absolutely loved DUMBO, the views of the Williamsburg Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge and lower Manhattan, all the big warehouses that have been there for years and years and all of the picturesque little streets. I could have walked around taking photos all day.

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The next day was a Sunday so of course we decided to go for brunch and what better place for our first New York brunch than the famous Jack's Wife Freda on Lafayette Street. Once again I'd heard lots of people rave about their food so I was dying to try it out. I'll go into more detail in my dedicated food post, but for now I'll tell you that it didn't disappoint. 

After brunch we headed towards the Chelsea Market looking in book shops and record shops along the way. We also did the obligatory stop at the Friends building on Bedford Street which happens to be a couple of minutes walk from Carrie Bradshaw's apartment on Perry Street and since we were headed that way anyway we stopped there for a quick snap too. We stopped in Magnolia to get some cupcakes and their famous banana pudding which we ate on a bench outside the Gansevoort Market. We then walked around Chelsea Market which I loved (we wished we weren't too full to eat there because all of the food places looked amazing!).

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We decided to walk the High Line while we were in the area, it was the perfect end to a great day walking around SoHo, Greenwich Village and Chelsea. I absolutely loved the High Line, we wanted to go back again some night as recommended by my brother but we didn't get a chance. It seemed like it'd be a great place to hang out in the Summer because there's lots of places to sit down away from the craziness of the city. There was an installation for The Handmaid's Tale where they had been giving out free copies of the book (they were all gone by the time we got there). We stopped to take photos of the amazing views at all of the street intersections and the apartments overlooking the park. I loved reading more about how the High Line came to be at the information points along the way. 

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We had a late start on our sixth day so we went for brunch in Astoria before going into Manhattan. Simon wanted to watch the Liverpool match in the afternoon at a Liverpool bar in the East Village which wasn't my ideal way to spend an afternoon but lucky for me it meant he had to come to the Glossier showroom with me first. I wrote about the experience here and you can read my first Glossier product review here. The match actually turned out to be a great experience. The bar was packed with huge Liverpool fans and I even got chatting to some ladies from Canada who were stopped in New York on a cruise and were so excited they got to watch the match in this bar. One of the ladies even gave my a Liverpool crest made out of metal that her husband makes which was so kind. After the match we were in need of refreshments so we walked to the Milk Bar and got ice cream which we ate on the way to Union Square. We decided to try to get tickets to Top of the Rock for the evening so we went and booked in for later that night and went off to get some pizza for dinner. 

We wanted to do both Top of the Rock and the Empire State building so we thought it'd be a good idea to do one during the day and one at night. I was so excited to see the view of the city all lit up at night. Coming out of the elevator and seeing that view for the first time is one of those moments in life that takes your breath away. It was so windy and cold but so worth it. Top of the Rock is definitely one of the must-see places in New York because the view is just spectacular, it was especially amazing to see the Empire State building all lit up in green. 

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So that's the end of part two. I'll have part three which consists of our last four days in the coming week including a wrap up of our trip and any advice I can offer. I hope you're enjoying this travel series and please let me know if there's any other information you'd like to know about our trip like prices etc.

Emma x

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