Sunday, January 29, 2017

Recent Skincare Favourites From Kiehls, REN and Lancôme

I haven't written about skincare in a long time even though I've been trying out and loving some amazing new products over the past year. I wanted to get back into sharing some of my favourite skincare products with a post featuring three of the best discoveries of the past year. I'm a huge fan of all three brands featured and had high hopes for each of these products, thankfully I wasn't disappointed. 

Beginning with Kiehl's Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate. Yes, the name of this product is a mouthful, but it's a name fitting to the product which packs a lot of punch. When I first read the press release for this I was incredibly excited to try it out. It sounded like exactly the kind of product my skin needed. As I was getting closer to entering my thirties I was using serums more and more. I found that they worked miracles on my dehyrated skin. (I'm usually normal/combination). I was starting to see the effects of ageing and felt I needed a daily dose of hydration in order to keep my skin and my make up looking its best.

This product claims to plump the skin which reduces the appearance of fine lines, helps smooth the texture and reduces dull, tired looking skin all of which can be caused by age-related dehydration. An imbalance of moisture in the skin as we get older means that we can suffer from premature skin aging. Kiehls have created a product the floods the skins deepest surface layers with moisture in order to restore a more youthful appearance to dehydrated skin.

Two of the key ingredients are plant-based Glycerin and Shiso Leaf Extract. The glycerin is a "moisture magnet" and absorbs water from the surrounding environment into the skin, it also increases the skins ability to hold water which aids elasticity and the barrier function of this skin. The Shiso Leaf Extract helps protect against the loss of naturally occurring Hyaluronic Acid in the skin (Hyaluronic Acid does wonders for keeping skin hydrated by holding the right amount of water that the skin needs).

The big question is does it work? From the first time I used it I could see its effects. I used it day and night before moisturiser and I found it did exactly what it said it would. I could see that my skin was more plump and looked brighter. To be completely honest I rarely write about skincare products because it's not often that I can genuinely see a product make a difference to my skin. But after noticing the first signs of my skin aging over the past year I was delighted to find a product that actually worked.

It feels beautiful to apply, almost becoming more fluid upon contact with my skin. It sinks in quickly so you can apply a moisturiser almost straight away. For €49 you get 50ml of product. I used mine up faster than I should have because I was using it twice a day but once a day would be more than sufficient. It also comes in travel friendly plastic packaging with a pump. If you're finding your skin is looking dull and dry and make up doesn't apply as easily any more, you should try this out. It's one I'll definitely be repurchasing despite the price tag. It's available from Arnotts and the Kiehls store on Wicklow Street.


The next product is one I was very excited to try after attending the launch last year. I'm a huge fan of REN and I've loved everything I've tried so far. The Instant Brightening Beauty Shot Eye Lift, another mouthful, is the Instant Firming Beauty Shot for the eyes (I haven't actually tried the facial version so I don't know what it's like). 

It's a gel-serum consistency that is supposed to brighten, lift and tighten the eye area reducing puffiness and fine lines. It's recommended that you apply a small amount all around the eye contour including the eyelid in a massage motion without rubbing. You can also reapply during the day over your moisturiser or make up for an instant lift. 

One of the main ingredients in the Beauty Shot Eye Lift is sodium hyaluronate which can penetrate the skin much easier than Hyaluronic Acid due to the size of its molecules. It can hold and attract water like no other substance making it an excellent ingredient to hydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of skin aging. Although the results are temporary, it does help to protect the skin from the environment and other causes of skin aging. 

When I first tried this I could feel the tightening effect immediately. I had been suffering with dryness on my eyelids for months and this was the only thing that got my eye area back to normal. I loved how it reduced puffiness in the morning and hydrated under my eyes so that my concealer blended in easily and lasted better throughout the day without looking dry which can happen sometimes. I haven't tried it over make up yet but the texture is light enough that I can't see it being a problem. 

You can find REN in Space NK, Marks and Spencer, Cloud 10 Beauty and Arnotts. The Beauty Shot Eye Lift is priced at €40/£30 for 15ml, but you only need a very small amount so it lasts for a few months.


The final product I wanted to write about today is the Lancôme Énergie de Vie Liquid Moisuriser. I'm currently on my second bottle of this after first trying it out over the Summer after a press event. The Énergie de Vie range is marketed for the "millennial" consumer with Lily Collins as the face of the campaign. It's basically aimed at 25-35 year olds who have a busy, active lifestyle and need their skincare to give them a boost and keep them looking fresh faced.  It was developed by the Korean skincare labs inspired by new Korean beauty technology.

Lancôme used a trio of key active ingredients- Lemon Balm, Goji Berries and Gentian Root. Lemon balm to soothe the skin and protect it, goji berries which are an antioxidant, energising and rich in sugars, minerals, polyphenols and lipids and gentian extract which has been used for years as a digestive aid, it stimulates the skin and gives it an energy boost. These anti-oxidants protect your skin from tiredness, pollution, stress and dryness and leave it feeling more fresh, smooth and bright.

At first it felt really strange using this consistency as a moisturiser. It felt more like a serum and that I  should have been using a moisturiser on top of it but once you get used to the texture I absolutely loved how it felt. I loved using it during the Summer months as it was quick and easy to apply because of the liquid texture it sinks right into my skin and feels refreshing. It's oil free too so it made a great base for applying make up. I love how my skin looks and feels after using this, it feel hydrated and looks brighter. I even used it under my eyes as it feels light enough to do so. It's a great one to use in the Summer months or even on holiday. It doesn't contain an SPF which is my only concern but it's light enough that you could layer a specific SPF on top of it and it wouldn't feel too heavy.

I love the bright green packaging as it's quite a departure from the rest of the Lancôme skincare ranges, it really does draw you in and reflect the whole campaign which is for the modern woman on the move. The only problem I have it that it's a glass bottle so it's not the most travel friendly, however I'm willing to overlook that because I love the product inside so much. It also comes in two sizes a 30ml which is €37 and a 50ml which is €55. I will definitely be repurchasing this, I feel like it's a great quality moisturiser for the price point and if you have no major skin concerns it's perfect.

Have you tried any of these products yet or can you recommend any great products you've tried recently?

Emma x

see here for more details about Sodium Hyaluronate
*These products were press samples, however all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Lancôme L'Absolu Rouge

Lancôme's L'Absolu Rouge lipsticks were first created 25 years ago and after a quarter of a century, they have been reinvented with 36 shades and 3 different finishes; matte, sheer and cream.  Lancôme's Creative Director, Lisa Eldridge was given free rein to create 14 brand new shades as part of the collection of 36. I had been looking forward to the launch for months after first hearing Lisa mention it on her social media. She had been teasing us by wearing some of the new shades in the months leading up to the release date and I was so excited to see them all in person. 

The revamped lipsticks have been given brand new beautiful packaging with sleek black casing and a clickable embossed rose on top that releases the lipstick from the tube. The new packaging is a tribute to the jewel lipstick cases created by Lancôme founder Armand Petitjean. 


 I was given two shades to try out, Idôle 186 and Rose Lancôme 368 both of which are a matte finish. Before Christmas I was invited to try out all of the new shades and straight away I was drawn to Idôle, I actually applied it at the press event and was delighted when I saw that it was one of the shades I was given. 


Idôle is a muted coral red, one of my favourite types of red to wear especially in the Summer. The closest shade I have to this in my collection is Revlon Strawberry Suede (also a matte finish) which coincidentally I bought on Lisa Eldridge's recommendation years ago but it has since been discontinued. Perhaps this is her way of bringing that shade back to life. Either way I'm delighted because I wore Strawberry Suede a lot last Summer after rediscovering it and there isn't a lot of it left so I'm happy that I have a replacement that's almost identical to it. I can see this being one of those universally flattering shades, I've seen it on Lisa herself too and it's beautiful on her. 


Rose Lancôme is a beautiful bright pink. It's one of those shades that instantly makes your complexion look brighter. I've mostly been wearing this with minimal eye make up, only liquid liner and mascara and a similar toned blush. I feel like this lipstick doesn't need much more, it's such a statement by itself. I've been wearing this shade so much recently, it's reignited my love for pink lips.

I absolutely adore both of these shades, there are so many other ones that I loved when I saw them in person, Suspense and Berry Noir are two that are on my wishlist. I haven't tried the sheer and cream formulas but the matte is definitely the most creamy, hydrating and easy to apply matte lipsticks I've ever tried.

The formula contains a moisture boosting ingredient called Pro-Xylane, a skincare ingredient developed by L'Oréal which contains Xylose derived from beech wood and is meant to nourish and plump the skin. To cut it down to basics, the Xylose stimulates the production of molecules that help prevent the skin from losing water.

I always like when brands use skincare ingredients in their make up products. If I'm wearing a foundation or a lipstick all day, it's nice to know that it's going to benefit my skin in some way as well as improving its appearance. This is probably why this lipstick, although matte in its finish, is so comfortable to wear all day.  

LAR16.1 LAR18

There is the signature rosy Lancôme scent to these lipsticks, but nothing offensive. I rarely wear lip liner and I've found that they last a long time without a liner but to prevent any possible feathering I wear the Urban Decay Ultimate Ozone Multipurpose Primer Pencil around the outside of my lips. At €29, they are definitely an investment, but I can't see anyone not liking them. There is a shade to suit everyone so if you're looking for a nice new lipstick or a gift for someone, I highly suggest taking a look at them in person. 

I love how Lancôme have created beautiful modern packaging with a little nod to it's roots and the classic Rose symbol. I have been blown away by how such a classic beauty brand has made itself relevant again with its innovative launches over the past year and Lisa Eldridge has definitely had a huge hand in Lancômes renaissance as a brand that is more than able to hold its own against its competitors. I'm very excited to see what new launches are coming from Lancôme this year.

Have you tried the L'Absolu Rouge lipsticks yet? What new launches are you looking forward to this year?

Emma x

*If you haven't already seen it, be sure to check out the Best Beauty Products of 2016 over on Makeup Monster, where you can see my top ten products of 2016 along with some of the best Irish beauty bloggers. (These lipsticks would have made the cut but I hadn't tested them out properly when I wrote my list!)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

I Fall Asleep To Dream My Dreams Of You

I had been looking for a velvet blazer for a while coming up to Christmas. It's such a classic seasonal item that you can bring out year after year and style so many different ways. I'd seen a few in the likes of Zara and Topshop but nothing that was perfect for me. After attending the Primark Spring/Summer 2017 press day I was given a voucher with which I bought this entire outfit (apart from the shoes). I actually rarely browse in the women's clothing in Penneys, I usually head straight for socks, pyjamas and the home department. I had a really good look around the shop late one evening about a half hour before closing when it was quiet enough for me to be able to properly see everything without crowds of people. 

The blazer was one of the first things that caught my eye, I tried it on and was sold straight away. I wasn't too sure about the trousers at the time, I didn't want to buy something for the sake of it even though the prices are so reasonable so I went home with the blazer and blouse (among other things) and a few days later I came back for the trousers. I actually ended up getting a bigger size as I wanted the suit to look more casual and less form fitting. It's probably not the most flattering outfit ever, but I don't mind that. 

I knew I wanted to wear it around Christmas time but I didn't want to look too dressed up so I paired it with my white Topshop runners and the peter pan collar blouse. This is definitely something I wasn't sure if I could pull off, I've never worn a suit before but I'm so happy I tried it out because I really liked it in the end, especially dressed down with the runners. I'm not a heels girl, but I'm sure it would look amazing with heels too. I think a suit like this is so versatile, you could wear it so many ways, each piece separately or with something different under the blazer like a t-shirt, a jumper or polo neck, a cami top etc. I saw a similar blazer styled with a white shirt, gold pleated midi skirt and heeled boots and it looked amazing. 

That's what I like about shops like Penneys, it allows you to try out trends without forking out a fortune on a designer piece, having said that I'll definitely be wearing the suit until Spring comes and keeping it in my wardrobe for next year. I really dislike the concept of fast-fashion which is why I'm always just as scrupulous buying something at a lower price as I would be if it was more expensive. I hate buying something with the mindset of only wearing it once and then getting rid of it because it was cheap. If I buy something I intend for it to be in my wardrobe (and worn) for years to come.  

I wore this on both Christmas Eve and Stephen's Day (Boxing Day) and the trousers are so comfortable it's like wearing pyjamas, perfect for the festive season when you might be overindulging a little bit. 

BV6 BV8 BV15 BV12 BV5

Jacket, trousers and shirt- Penneys/Primark (similar here, here, here, here and here)
Shoes and Earrings- Topshop (similar here and here)
Lipstick- Lancôme L'Absolu Rouge in Rose Lancôme
Nails- Essie Eternal Optimist and Shine of the Times

What are your thoughts on "fast-fashion" and shops with lower price points? Are there any trends you loved this Winter?

Emma x

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 in Outfits

If you read my 2016 in make up post (well done because it was rather wordy), then you'll have read all about the highlights of 2016 for me. I'll keep this one a bit shorter. I wanted to do a roundup of the outfits I've featured on the blog over the past year. Like I said in my previous post, having a new and better camera has made a huge difference to my content. To be honest I'm still getting used to it myself so I'm extremely grateful that my boyfriend is so obliging and takes photos for me without any complaints. Without his help I wouldn't have half the content I have on the blog. 

I've really enjoyed finding new locations to take the photos and revisiting old favourites. Like with my previous post I've featured the outfits in order of how popular they were with my readers, ending with the most popular. Which one was your favourite?













These are still my favourite posts to create, one of my goals for the new year is to get a bit more creative with my locations which I know will involve trying to ignore passersby (something that I find very difficult) but I'm hoping I can push myself to do it. 

You can keep up with more regular outfits on my Instagram, please leave your username below if I'm not already following you!

I'd also love to know who your favourite style bloggers are, I'd love to start following some new people. Once again, thank you for all the support you've shown me over the past year, it really means the world to me. 

Emma x

2016 in Make Up

Happy New Year! I wanted to have these 2016 roundup posts up before the end of the year but sadly I was sick all over New Years (and I still am). I love seeing these posts from other bloggers which is why I wanted to do my own version. It was actually really satisfying going back through the months so see that I've written so much, though it may not seem a lot by other blogger's standards, I feel like I have achieved a lot especially coinciding with a very physical full-time job. 

I have hugely enjoyed using my new camera this year (I have the Canon 700d/Rebel T5i). One of my "resolutions" for this year is to learn to use my camera inside out and invest in more lenses and equipment. Another blog related resolution is to finally sort out my blog layout and header. This is something that is long overdue and that I've been putting off because it's not a necessity but I've seen people get great results from spending very little money so that's something I am committed to getting done this year (all suggestions welcome). 

Like a lot of people, 2016 had it's trials for me. I've been dealing with my own health problems as well as those of my family. But I have also had one of the most wonderful years of my life, watching my niece grow up has been a privilege, I feel so lucky to be such a big part of her life watching her learn new things and make everyone laugh, she is the funniest little person. It's incredible to see another human learn new things every day and watching my sister and brother-in-law grow with her as her parents. 

I also got to travel lots, I visited Liverpool twice (football crazy boyfriend) and it's become one of my favourite places to visit, a great city break if you're looking for somewhere not too far away. I went to Amsterdam for the first time, somewhere I've always wanted to go and it didn't disappoint. It's such a pretty city unlike any other I've ever been to and it's definitely a place I'd love to return to in the future. I also returned to the south of France, to a town called Beaulieu-sur-Mer. It was so lovely being on holiday with my boyfriend, my sister and brother-in-law and my niece. I've haven't been so relaxed in a long time. It was amazing going back to the Côte d'Azur and loving it even more this time. It's a place I know I'll return to again. 

This Summer was filled with day trips and afternoons in the park enjoying the weather. To top it all off I turned thirty in August, something that filled me with happiness instead of dread. I'm not a hugely positive person naturally but I feel like entering a new decade of my life is a privilege denied to so many. How can I complain about ageing when I've seen so many people lose their lives too soon this year. I'm embracing it fully instead knowing that life is shorter than we realise and we have to make the most of it while we can. Staying with that sentiment, my biggest plans for 2017 so far involve my first trip to the US! My very generous boyfriend is taking me to New York as my 30th birthday present. It's a place neither of us have been but have always wanted to visit. If you have any suggestions of anything NYC related please let me know because we're currently trying to finalise our plans and appreciate any help we can get. 

That was a brief summation of what was overall a very happy year for me, so cheers to the next one!

Below is a countdown of all of my make up looks from 2016, except instead of chronologically, I've arranged them by how popular the posts were with my readers. Let me know what your favourite look was. I can't wait to create lots more content in 2017.  














I also just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my blog this year, I would probably be creating content no matter how many people visited but it's great knowing that there are people who follow me and enjoy reading my blog, you have no idea how much it means to me. I have so much appreciation for all of your continued support.

How was your 2016? Have you got any excited plans for 2017 yet?

Emma x

*I have also done a 2016 in Outfits post so be sure to check that out if you're interested!

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