Sunday, August 28, 2016

Tearful At The Falling Of A Star

It feels very strange to say that I'm thirty. I felt like it was important for me to mark this occasion here, since my blog has been such a huge part of my twenties and I'm hoping it will remain so as I enter this new decade of my life. To think that I was only 23 when I started this blog, the years have gone by too quickly.

I'm feel proud to say that all my life I have always just been myself. I wasn't all that bothered with what anyone else thought of me, I dressed to please myself, listened to the music and watched the movies I loved, I never felt pressure to do anything conventional. To this day, even writing this blog I have always done my own thing, even though it's meant my blog has remained quite small throughout it's six years of existence, I'd rather have it that way and keep writing about what I want to write about.

I've been thinking a lot lately about my life and feeling like I haven't really achieved much, but I think I was doing myself a disservice. Everyone's ambitions and definitions of success are so different. It's far too easy to compare yourself to other people nowadays and it can be both very motivating and toxic at the same time. I can completely admire someone who is driven and ambitious and works 24/7 to achieve their goals but I've come to the realisation that that is not and will never be me. I work very hard at what I do and I put everything into it, I always want to do my best and make myself proud more than anything, but I also know that work isn't everything and spending time with the people I love is so important to me and I don't want to compromise on that. I feel like I finally have as close to a healthy balance as I'll ever get and I'm really happy with that.

I have done a lot in my thirty years, I've completed my education, I've moved house lots of times, I've had two interviews in my life and gotten both jobs, I've stayed up all night talking to someone I love, I've watched a LOT of films, been to a lot of gigs, I've travelled more in the past 2 years than I have in the previous 27. I've become an Aunt to the most beautiful little girl, I've been the face of an international make up campaign for a brand I love. I won an award for best fashion/beauty blog at the Irish Blog Awards. I've made many friends and sadly lost touch with some too. I've watched people I love pass away. I've had my heart broken, I've fallen in love, I've taught myself many things. I've done things I regret and regretted things I didn't do. I stood beside my sister at her wedding. I've danced all night, cried over boys, had too much to drink on nights out, eaten the most amazing food, watched Six Feet Under late at night when I was supposed to be asleep. Watched The Goonies more times than I can remember, I named my youngest brother, made up dance routines to Spice Girls songs (I was always Baby Spice), got surprisingly good results in my leaving cert exams, I've stood up for myself and others as much as I could and I danced on the beach in the rain with my best friend

I never had any significant dreams or ambitions when I was younger, I really don't think I was ever your typical little girl. I didn't dream of being a ballerina or a pop singer or what my wedding dress would look like or having babies. As I got older I wasn't obsessed with getting a boyfriend or traveling the world or underage drinking. All I really wanted in life was to be healthy and happy and laugh a lot and I've done just that (apart from some recent health issues). 

There is still so much I want to do with my life, so many things spring to mind immediately I won't even try to start naming everything. My main goals are to continue to live my life as fully as I can, to say yes to exciting and challenging opportunities, to push myself to learn new things and experience more of the world and to try and be a good and positive person and help people as much as I can. 

And if you're still reading, here are some photos of what I wore on my birthday. 

CG14 CG8 CG5 CG11 CG3 CG4 CG12 CG16

Top- Dunnes Stores Savida Star Mesh Top
Skirt- Zara Tulle Skirt
Shoes- ASOS Switch It On Pointed Heels
Earrings- Topshop
Ring- Stella and Dot Eden Ring (currently sold out)
Lipstick- Charlotte Tilbury Red Carpet Red
Nails- Essie On a Silver Platter

My party was very casual in a local bar so I didn't want anything too dressy but I still wanted something new and pretty. I started with the shoes which I saw on someone I follow on Instagram a few months ago and went on ASOS straight away to order them. Sadly they were out of stock for ages so when I finally saw they were back in my size AND on sale I was thrilled and bought them immediately. I never wear high heels because I have problems with my feet so these low block heels give just enough height to make me feel a bit more dressed up, I'll definitely be bringing these out for events to dress up jeans or more casual outfits.

I wanted some kind of tulle skirt and when I started looking around online they seemed to be everywhere. I got this one for a bargain price of €29.95 in Zara, it also comes in a pale blue shade. I plan on wearing this in the winter with ankle boots and a jumper to make it more cold weather appropriate.

I was going to just wear a grey or white t-shirt with the skirt to keep the outfit more casual but then I saw this top in Dunnes while out shopping with my sister about a week before my birthday. I brought the skirt into town with my the next day to try on with the top and I loved how they looked together. I included some photos below of how I wore the outfit on the night of my party and then a bit more dressed down on my actual birthday. Please excuse the "there's a car coming" face, it's the only photo I got of my outfit on the night!

OB Collage

Thanks for reading this long, personal post. They're a rare occurrence these days, but I felt like sharing a bit more since it was a special occasion. 

Emma x

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Face of the Day- Bronzed Illumination

I was sent the No7 Skin Illuminator a couple of months ago and after trying it once I was excited to use it for a glowing Summer skin look. Summer is almost over (at least in Ireland anyway) but I'll be going on holiday in a couple of weeks so until I come back I'm still in Summer mode and using my favourite hot weather make up products. I've written about most of the products below already and they're all still firm favourites. 

I wanted to use only cream or liquid products to achieve as natural a finish as possible. I started with YSL Top Secrets Instant Moisture Glow, it's a lightweight moisturiser that works as the perfect hydrating primer to any foundation. I was sent this last year and have been using it sparingly because I never want it to end. This stuff feels incredible and instantly makes my skin look better. I tend to save it for days when my skin is feeling dehydrated but I need it to look good quickly. At €40 for 40ml, it's not cheap but if you suffer from dehydration and find it hard to get foundation to look good on your skin, I recommend getting a little sample of this because it really does make a huge difference to the appearance and texture of my skin.

I then applied the Bourjois BB Bronzing Cream that I reviewed last year. This stuff smells incredible, I used it lots on holiday last year and plan on bringing it with me this year too. I don't think it's still in stores but you can still get it online. It even works well on my fair skin, however it doesn't have the best coverage so I applied a small amount of Lancôme Miracle Air de Teint foundation on top because it's a matte glow foundation so it gives my skin luminosity but controls oil, the perfect combination and it meant I didn't have to apply powder on top. 


I didn't feel like I needed much concealer as my skin was free from blemishes and breakouts so I just applied Kiehls Clearly Corrective Dark Circle Perfector under my eyes, this is another product I reviewed last year and is still a staple in my everyday make up routine. It also contains SPF 30 which is essential for protecting the eye area in the hot weather. I wear this every single day and I can see such a difference under my eyes since I started using it last Summer. I then put some Clarins Instant Concealer on top to give an extra brightening effect and because it's so light but with great coverage, it works really well under the eyes. 


I wanted to keep the eye make up quick, easy and long-wearing, perfect for warmer weather. I used my Armani Eye Tint in Cold Copper which is a pale gold shade that lasts all day without creasing. I love this kind of product because you can apply it straight onto the lid from the doe foot applicator and use a blending brush to buff it out, it literally takes a minute. I then added some definition to both the upper and lower lash line using this gorgeous KIKO Glamorous Eye Pencil in 401 (Golden Hazelnut) which appears to be discontinued (but NYX have one that's very similar). 

I used Lancôme Grandiôse Extrême mascara to finish off the eyes and ran Lancôme Sourcils Styler through my brows to keep them very natural. 


To warm up my skin I used YSL Les Sahariennes in Épice. I was sent this last Summer and I honestly didn't think I'd like it because bronzers and I don't usually get along. Épice is the third lightest shade in the range which I was sure would be too dark on me when I first saw it but once I got the hang of it and used it in the right places on my face and blended it well, it gave me such a natural "sun-kissed" glow. 

Les Sahariennes is the first of it's kind, a powder-in-balm formula that applies so smoothly to the skin but transforms into a powder finish leaving the skin with a healthy bronzed glow. I never enjoyed using bronzers because they were always too dark or too sparkly for me. This is perfect for me, because of it's unique formula it looks so natural. I used it on the high points of my face, anywhere the sun would naturally hit and as you can see from the photos it doesn't look like too much at all. If you have fair skin and constantly struggle to get a natural looking bronzer to suit your skin tone, I would highly recommend having a look at this, there are two shades lighter than the one I have which could work really well on fairer skin tones.


The No7 Skin Illuminator is one of those products that I love for achieving a natural highlighted effect to the skin. I didn't want to disturb my foundation and bronzer too much so I patted this onto my skin, on the tops of my cheekbones, on my brow bone, down my nose and on my cupid's bow. As you can see the finished effect is incredibly natural looking and so pretty. I'm a big fan of highlighter and I use theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer most days (with a very light hand), but there's something about a liquid highlighter that I've loved ever since I first tried Benefit High Beam. I've also tried this mixed in with my foundation and again it gives a very subtle glow effect. 


I added a small amount of Bourjois Aqua Blush in Pink Twice to my cheeks and blended it out with my foundation brush. I have three shades of the Aqua blushes and I love them, especially for Summer because they look natural, last very long in hot weather and the gel/mousse texture has a cooling effect on the skin. 


To finish off the whole look is a lip product unlike any other I've ever tried. We all know lip oils have been big over the past couple of years and now Lancôme have incorporated it into a lip colour. The Lancôme Juicy Shaker is a bi-phase hybrid of pigment and oil encased in some of the cutest packaging I've ever seen. The Juicy Shaker is based on a combination of the 1945 Cocktail Shaker lipstick and the iconic Juicy Tubes from the nineties. Packaging aside, I absolutely adore this product. Sure, it has the novelty factor, but I'm fine with that as long as the product inside delivers and this really does.

The applicator is unique too, it's a cone shaped cushion that feels so soft on my lips. You have to shake up the bottle before you apply it because it's bi-phase so it separates when it's kept still. The scent is unbelievable too, it's a fruity sweet scent so give it a whiff before buying it because I know a lot of people don't long strongly scented products but I'm addicted to it. I'm constantly reapplying this because it's so fun to use and smells amazing, it also contains almond oil, omega three and cranberry oil to nourish your lips.

This is definitely not the most pigmented of lip products, I was sent Berry Tale (there are 14 shades altogether including a clear mint scented one) but it does give a nice wash of colour for a more pared down look and it make my lips feel amazing all day. The texture is nothing like the original Juicy Tubes (which were like wearing honey on your lips they were so sticky!) it feels so smooth but not oily.

For a lipstick lover like me it takes a lot for me to forgo wearing lipstick, but I have found myself putting this in my bag a lot more often than I would have thought, especially on days when my lips are feeling dry and just need some nourishment.


What do you think of this look? It's quite different for me and a lot more toned down than I would usually prefer but I think a look like this is beautiful in the Summer or if you're just looking to give your skin that healthy glow effect. 

Have you tried any of these products before? What are your go-to products for glowing, healthy looking skin?

Emma x

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Lipstick Is My Vice

When I heard that Urban Decay were launching a collection of 100 lipsticks I was so excited to see them in person. If you know me at all, you know that lipstick is my favourite item of make up, so this has definitely been my top make up launch of the year so far.

I was sent three lipsticks from the Vice collection a few weeks ago and immediately I was blown away. First of all the packaging is beautiful and quite unique compared to all of the other lipsticks in my collection. The gunmetal and gold colour scheme is so intrinsically Urban Decay and is the perfect upgrade to their previous lipstick packaging.

These are actually the only UD lipsticks I own, I've tried a few of the shades before (I wrote about the samples that came with the Gwen Stefani palette) and one of them actually happens to be Rock Steady which is one of the shades I received. The other two are Conspiracy, a metallized brown and Disturbed, a deep berry comfort matte. Rock Steady is a deep red cream formula so I got to try three of the six finishes available. The other three are Sheer, Sheer Shimmer and Mega Matte. 


When I opened up the three lipsticks, Conspiracy was the only one I was unsure would suit me. This shade screams nineties (a make up trend I'm not crazy about to be honest). I was so surprised when I first applied this, I didn't think I'd like it as much as I did. I think it helps that it's warmer than most nineties browns and the metallized finish keeps it from looking too flat. I feel like you definitely need to have proper eye make up done to pull this off. I wore it with a similarly toned eye shadow from the Lorac Pro palette and some dark brown liquid liner. I'm looking forward to wearing this coming into Autumn as it's not exactly the most Summery shade. 


Like I said, Rock Steady was the only shade I had already tried out and I absolutely loved it. It's one of those deep reds that's a bit more on the pink side and I think it would be very flattering on a lot of different skin tones. I'm not really used to cream finish reds as I tend to go for a matte finish in bolder lip colours. However, this is one of those cream finish lipsticks that stay on the lips and doesn't feather out. I do find you have to be precise with the application and really take your time or else it can look messy. I'd be inclined to wear a lip liner with this too just to increase staying power and help with a precise application. This is so comfortable to wear (I've even worn it without my beloved MAC Prep + Prime Lip) because it's so richly pigmented you only need to just cover your lips to get a beautiful colour pay off. 


I was so excited when I saw Disturbed. I absolutely adore these deep berry shades, they are just so gorgeous in the Winter time. It's very similar to Revlon Black Cherry (one of my all time favourite lipsticks) but I prefer the comfort matte finish of this as it's more toned down for daytime wear. Even though it's matte it applies easily and again is very comfortable to wear which isn't always the case with mattes. You could definitely wear this with a lip liner to build the intensity and help it last longer however I find with darker shades like this it's sometimes nicer to apply straight onto the lips so that it looks more effortless and easier to wear. I love a lipstick like this with no eye make up, just lots of mascara. It's such a fresh way to wear a dark lip. 


At only €18, you're getting great quality for your money. The packaging, formula, finish and longevity rivals lipsticks I have that are a lot more expensive. There is literally something for everyone in this collection, that's what I love about Urban Decay, it's a fun brand that cater to such a wide range of consumers and constantly keep the interest up with their new launches.

The Vice lipsticks are available in Debenhams and House of Fraser.

Have you tried any of these lipsticks yet? Is there a shade that you're dying to try out?

Emma x

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

No7 Beautifully Matte/ Beautifully Matte Light Foundation

I've been a big fan of No7 foundations for years now (and not just because I was part of the Match Made campaign), I've tried a few of them and there hasn't been one I didn't like yet. My favourite is still the Stay Perfect Superlight which I've written about here.

A few months ago I was sent both the Beautifully Matte and Beautifully Matte Light Foundations, the latter being a new release. The original Beautifully Matte foundation has also been reformulated. I had never tried it before and being a lover of a lighter coverage foundation I was very curious to see how the original compared to the new Light version. 


To begin with, the packaging for both foundations is identical save for the silver stripe around the Light which I can only assume is to differentiate between the two if you happen to own both. The packaging is sturdy hard plastic with a pump, it's not my ideal packaging, I prefer a tube that you can squeeze every last drop from, but definitely much more travel friendly than a glass bottle. 

Let's start with what they have in common. Both foundations are best suited to oily/normal skin. They both contain fine, oil absorbing powders that are supposed to control shine all day. They are oil free, hypo-allergenic and have an SPF 15. I also found that the texture was the same with both, more viscous than the Superlight, Stay Perfect and Airbrush Away foundations, yet still blended easily into the skin, something I wasn't expecting from a mattifying foundation. 


I use a Zoeva Silk Finish brush to apply the foundations and I find they both blend seamlessly into my skin. I personally find that I like to use a little bit at first and then build up the coverage if I find I need it. The only difference that I can find between these two is their coverage. The original Beautifully Matte is supposed to be medium to full coverage whereas the Light one is supposed to be medium (I would say light to medium). I rarely use full coverage foundations but I was surprised at how much I liked the full coverage of Beautifully Matte. If you take your time with the application, it blends in nicely and does't sit on the pores. Instead it leaves my skin with a perfected velvet finish. 

Beautifully Matte Light essentially does the exact same thing but with a lighter coverage. It still conceals pores, blemishes and redness but you can see your skin more clearly which on a daily basis is my preference. I've been saving Beautifully Matte for night time wear when I tend to amp up the rest of my make up. I didn't think I'd like the finish of it as much as I do, it's perfect for when I'm having a bad skin day as it just gives that extra bit of coverage. 

Bare skin

Beautifully Matte Foundation only

Full make up with no powder

Beautifully Matte/Beautifully Matte Light

Beautifully Matte Light

Full make up with no powder

The first few times I tried them, I didn't powder my face at all to see how they held up throughout the day. I definitely noticed my nose become oily by the end of the day, but nowhere near as much as it does with other foundations. When I applied powder this lessened even more. You can see the difference in coverage in the photos above. The only thing that would make me chose the more full coverage is if my skin wasn't looking great or if I was going out and wanted a more full on make up look.

The only negative I can say about these foundations is I felt like I needed to make sure my skin was hydrated particularly well before I applied them because matte foundations do have a tendency to cling to dryness. This can be easily solved by using a hydrating serum/primer before/after you moisturise. If you're like me and have combination skin, you might really like these foundations. Once you prepare your skin by exfoliating and hydrating first, the foundation controls oil production throughout the day. If my skin is dehydrated, these foundations don't look as well as they can look.

The big question I ask myself when I'm trying out a new product and sitting down to write a review is "would I genuinely buy it again?". The answer this time is 100% yes. I like having several different types of foundation in my collection to choose from depending on how my skin is behaving. Until now I didn't have any mattifying or full coverage foundations in my make up bag, so it's nice to know that if my skin is acting up and I need that extra bit of coverage, I can bring out Beautifully Matte.

The price tag of €20 means that it's not exactly cheap but with your trusty No7 vouchers from Boots, you can get it for €15.50. Both of these foundations are worth trying if like me you find your skin getting oily throughout the day. If you're prepared to put in the effort of prepping your skin properly before you apply it, you'll get great results.

Have you tried this or any other No7 foundations before? Can you recommend any other foundations that work well for oily skin?

Emma x

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