1.18.2016

A Beautiful Haven


New make-up purchases excites me like no other, but the arrival of a new haven for all my must-haves turns me into a giddy five year old. While ultimately it is what's inside that counts, it can't be denied that owning a gorgeous make-up bag is just darn satisfying. 2015 saw me fell head over heels in love with Charlotte Tilbury. Can that woman set a foot wrong? No she can't. She truly can't. The quality of her products are outstanding. Quite frankly, if you have never tried the Filmstar Bronze and Glow or the K.I.S.S.I.N.G lipstick in Bitch Perfect and the Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk, then you haven't lived.

But as much as I can ramble on about her products all day, err' day, I'm here to talk about this stunning limited edition make-up bag. Released as part of her Christmas 2015 collection, this deep burgundy bag caught my attention straightaway. And how could it not when it is printed with rose gold lip prints of some of the most iconic women in fashion? It doesn't actually state whose lips belong to who, but I guess that's the trivia of the day. The back of the bag features a lovely quote which I wholeheartedly agree with 'Give a woman the right make-up and she can conquer the world' Make-up to me is so much more than just painting a face. It's not about erasing or hiding the real you. But rather, it's about highlighting your features and creating a stronger and confident persona, one who feels that she can accomplish anything she sets her mind to. The star of the show though? THAT adorable lipstick charm zipper which is pretty much a ultra mini version of her iconic rose-gold lipstick tube. Call me a shallow gal, but I just appreciate pretty delicate things. The bag is made of cotton and features a black lining inside. The soft structure of this canvas bag means that it is roomier than most make-up bags. Thus it can hold a lot of products inside. (The hoarder in me is doing the salsa right now.) Because who leaves the house with just one lipstick? 1? Try 7. Oops.

It's not perfect though. It's not machine-washable due to the nature of the special foil used to create the lip prints. Overtime, I can see it fading especially if not treated with care. The burgundy is a lovely shade for the bag, but because of it, any dirt/imperfections that it comes to contact with, is highlighted and is easily visible. For this reason, I don't tend to use it on a daily basis. I'd like to maintain its pristine condition for as long as possible. It looks so chic on top of my Ikea Malm Dressing Table, housing my current favourite high-end make-up.

Pretty, spacious and just so pleasing to the eye? It's a no-brainer. If you'd like to treat yourself to one while you still can, you can grab one from Brown Thomas for €42. A bit too steep for a make-up bag, yes but it feels well-crafted and have I already mentioned just how beautiful it looks? I am shallow, aren't I? #sorrynotsorry

1.11.2016

The Many Beauty Loves of 2015


A new year marks the arrival of the 'new year, new me' mantra, but for me it only means one thing: it's time to share the many beauty discoveries which made my 2015 all the more special and beautiful. I have a lot of love for each of the products and I don't see the love disappearing anytime soon in 2016.

The Face Products

Benefit The Porefessional is a product I have loved since 2011. I consider it a triple threat. Firstly, it creates a silky smooth base, allowing my foundation to glide easily on top. Secondly, it helps to prolong the wear time of my make-up. Thirdly and the main reason it stood the test of time? It fills in pores, instantly reducing and disguising the appearance of those tiny rascals that took up permanent residence on my cheeks.

For the actual base, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in 40 Beige takes home the crown. For a complexion that screams 'my skin, but better', look no further. It just looks SO NATURAL on the skin. It doesn't offer that much coverage, but I don't need it too. I just need some redness to disappear and this does it for me, while leaving me with skin that just looks healthy and fresh. My skin just loves it to bits. And then for days when I need a little bit of help in the hydration department, bareMinerals Complexion Rescue in 07 Tan as its name suggests, definitely came to my rescue each time without fail. This amazing tinted moisturiser evens out skin tone, offers hydration and a radiant coverage that gives life back to dull and tired looking complexions. Once blended with fingertips, it just leaves a veil of dewiness that never looks overdone, just right. Light, easy to apply and blend, I don't think words are enough to give justice to its amazingness.

As both bases offer light, sheer coverages, there were days I struggled with blemishes and hence, required more coverage and it's for that reason why I gave into the hype and purchased NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard I spent the first half of 2015 falling in love with this concealer due to its ability to offer full coverage while not venturing into cakey-mess town. Blemishes and redness do not pose any challenges to its ability to conceal with great ease. The creamy formula just blends easily, instantly masking and blurring out imperfections. Achieving flawless skin has never been easier with this by my side. Think of it as an instagram filter in tube form. As much as I adore Nars offering, the beauty junkie in me got bored reaching for the same concealer on a daily basis. I did some research and concluded that I needed to try  Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light to Medium Peach and Creamy Concealer in Natural. And boy, what a great call that was. My stubborn we refuse to go away dark under-eye circles will always be in dire need of help. One look at my make-up free face will reveal that my dark circles are the bane of my existence. However, they don't stand a chance against these bad boys. The peachiness of the corrector neutralises dark purple/blue undertones, immediately brightening the under-eye area. The magic just happens and when I apply the concealer on top, I'm left looking fresh and like I actually had a decent amount of sleep. Needless to say, I will be lost without these in my make-up bag.

I've long accepted the harsh truth that I ain't no Candice Swanepoel. I'm not even close. But that hasn't stopped me from wishing I was blessed with cheekbones to die for. So I'll let you in on my secret to cheating your way to having sculpted cheekbones. Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow is the answer to my potato-loving woes. It's undoubtedly my favorite product of 2015. I've used it every single day (on the days I was wearing make-up). Despite that though, I have yet to hit pan. That's because I only need a tiny amount to see a difference in my bone structure. The bronzer is a medium brown which works as a great contour shade. The soft, finely-milled texture applies and blends into the skin with little effort. Hey, sexy slim cheekbones. You fine, fine thang...... As for the highlighter, it's a light champagne beige that provides a luminous, glowing finish without looking OTT. Yes, it's expensive coming in at €65 (eek), but cast the exquisite gold packaging aside, the products inside are definitely worth it. Candice who? ;) For something that is more budget-friendly, Soap and Glory Solar Powder makes for a great alternative as it pretty much creates the same effect, for a fraction of the price. It adds warmth and definition, resulting in a glowing and bronzed complexion. I like to use the bronzer and highlighter together by swirling my brush over the two sides as it creates the most beautiful glow EVER. The buttery-soft texture just seals the deal for me.

Blush wise, it can only be Too Faced Love Blush in Baby Love This soft neutral rose sits so beautifully on the skin. It offers a long-wearing natural-looking flush with a subtle golden sheen finish. Plus points that it also helps to sculpt cheekbones. I didn't feel the need to reach for my Filmstar Bronze and Glow whenever I wore this. It just breaks my heart that I broke it last year. RIP, Baby Love. But don't you worry, I will make it my mission to be reunited with you this year.


Eyes


Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palette in The Dolce Vita made my heart flutter at the mere sight of it. An eyeshadow palette that houses four richly-pigmented beautiful warm-toned neutral shades. This is the only palette I reached for when doing my make-up for night outs as it readily creates such a sultry sexy smokey eye. The top two shades and the dark brown are wearable on their lonesome, but it is when they are paired together that works best. The textures of the shades are buttery and blendable. The star of this quad though? THAT pressed pigment copper-brown sitting oh so prettily at the bottom left. The three shades minus the glitter already makes a gorgeous eye look,but when you dab the third shade over the other shades, the micro-glitter just adds a little 'somethin' somethin' taking it from wow to WOAH.  So if it's a subtle or dramatic look you're after, you better believe that this is  the ONE.  Pair it with the  Too Faced Shadow Insurance and they ain't going nowhere. It makes for a great eyeshadow base. 

Lip Products

What's this? Seven lip product favourites? Can you tell I'm an indecisive person? Sure we can just say I picked a product for every day of the week. Let's start with the lip liners because we all know that 2015 WAS the year when they came back to every girls' radar. And we all can thank Kylie Jenner for that. Mac Soar was hard to track down due to its popularity, but trust me when I say it's worth all the hassle. This cool-toned deep mauve-pink is just pretty. Smooth and creamy, it just applies so easily. Another must-have lipliner for me was Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk When you can no longer imagine life without a product, you know it's for keeps. This pinky muted nude just looks awesome on its own. I love that it makes my lips look more fuller and plump,while still looking so flattering. It's incredibly long-wearing too.

I'm a girl who loves a red lipstick or two, and one that certainly impressed me last year was Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Outlaw a true red, it stays on and on and on (you get the gist) when they call it everlasting, they mean it. Rocking red lipstick requires dedication when maintaining its appearance during the day, but the formula of this is so long-lasting, you hardly ever need to touch up on the go. It has a straight up matte finish, but isn't as drying as Mac Ruby Woo. Whilst on the subject of bold lips, I can't not include Mac Relentlessly Red as it was the only lipstick I wore in Majorca for four days straight. This dark coral is a great complexion-boosting option.  For an everyday lipstick, I have two fab favorites.  Mac Brave a soft medium pink looks great on its own or paired with Soar. The love I feel for Charlotte Tilbury Bitch Perfect is on a whole different level. And no, the name doesn't have anything to do with it, but now that I think about it, it makes total sense as it is for a lack of a better word: PERFECT.  From the muted medium nude pink shade to the light shine finish it gives, I am besotted with it. It just imparts the right amount of sheen (not gloss) which gives lips a fuller and smoother appearance. And for something that is definitely a want than a need, an extravagant purchase, Dior Lip Glow is that product I never knew I needed until I owned it. It's essentially, a very expensive lip balm, with a €36 price tag, but it looks so gooood on top of my dressing table, I can turn a blind eye. Don't be fooled though. The greatness is not only superficial. It's a lovely hydrating lip balm which reacts with the chemistry of your lips, creating a pink shade that's so pretty as it is unique and flattering.
Beauty Tools

Two beauty tools I required on a daily basis were Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face &Touch Up Brush and the Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brush. Prior to acquiring the Bobbi Brown brush, the Buffing Brush from Real Techniques was all I ever used. For THREE years. If that's not love, I don't know what is. However, when I purchased the Bobbi Brown corrector and concealer, the saleslady applied the products using this brush and I was instantly impressed with how easily it blended the products evenly and smoothly. A rather clever brush, one end features the Full Coverage Face and the other end is a small concealer brush made perfectly for the under-eye area. Finding out that it's a limited edition release made me want it even more so it went home with me. The former makes for a great all-rounder base brush. It really reminds me of the RT buffing brush, but just a tad firmer. The bristles are so soft and works brilliantly at buffing in foundations, thereby leaving a seamless finish. As for the latter? The Powder & Sculpt brush creates cheekbones you never knew you even had. This and the Filmstar Bronze & Glow palette are my favorite investments of 2015.

It never ceases to amaze me how long I can ramble on about my makeup musings. But I guess when you love a product so much, there's no way you can stop gushing. Here's to many more musings in 2016.

1.08.2016

The emotional stages of breaking a beloved make-up item


Have you ever lost something you loved? Chances are you have and you'll remember that dark, sinister place of not knowing what to do. As a lover of all things beautiful, I take pride in looking after every single item in my make-up collection. I like keeping my products in pristine condition. At any given time, I can pinpoint their exact location. Well....usually. I did lose Mac Cherry and my Nars Casino bronzer (let's not dwell on it. I've shed enough tears) So imagine not only losing, but witnessing first hand, the fall of a much loved product? If you follow me on twitter , you would have known that on Dec 22 2015, my fave blush discovery of 2015, Too Faced Love Flush in Baby Love accidentally fell to the floor of my gym. It all happened so incredibly fast. One minute I was applying my make-up after my workout. Then in an instant, it was on the floor, in small, teeny tiny crumbs.  I miss it terribly, but rather than dwell on what I'd lost, I decided to see the funny side of my predicament. Below are the stages every girl goes through when a make-up item decides to say farewell too soon.

When you see your favourite make-up item fall to its untimely demise and you can't catch it quick enough to save it , the shock will hit you first. 


You're confused and you are rendered speechless.  ''What the F*** JUST HAPPENED?!?!? Is your clumsiness to blame? Course not. It wasn't your fault. Life just hates you.


The initial shock will only last for a few seconds and then it hits you. The soul crushing realisation that you just witnessed something tragic.



At this stage, you're going to start pleading for help and pray for a miracle. To borrow the words of Rose from Titanic, you're going to hear yourself scream out the following words '' COME BACK!!!!!!!'' as you watch it shatter into a million pieces.



But no amount of tears or shout for help will bring it back to its former state, it's a huge mess on the floor. And when you realise it's gone forever, the cycle of depression begins.


Depending on how long you've had that make-up product in your life, this stage will either last a few mins, hours, days. Or god forbid, a month.  You'll try desperately to keep it together, but you'll end up failing miserably. Just let it all out, girl. Don't deprive yourself the time to wallow in self-pity. Get the girl some kleenex.



After you've shed some tears (crying silent tears on the inside counts too), you're going to start feeling VERY ANGRY. Why me? Why you? What have we done to deserve it? You're going to start with these reactions:


With all that anger and frustration, things get pretty UGLY.  Don't be surprised if you no longer recognise yourself in the mirror.


You think you're mad at the world. You think you've been wronged, but no. Deep down, you know you can only be mad at yourself because you had one job. To keep it safe and you FAILED.....



Your loved ones think you're crazy for over-acting, but they don't know the trouble you went through to get that product in the first place. What if it was a limited edition? If it's only available in the United States? THE FRUSTRATION AND STRUGGLE IS REAL, people...... So as you stare at the mess on the floor for the last time, Blair Waldorf's words will resonate with you. Baby Love, I freaking LOVED YOU. Why leave me?


The last stage? Acceptance. You realise that crying and being mad won't bring it back. You have been acting like a fool the entire time, so you wipe away the last remaining tears.


And put on the rest of your make-up. You're going to smile because......


Now you have a reason to head to Sephora/Boots/Space NK/Brown Thomas and find a replacement. And you don't have to feel guilty. YASS. Score!


Losing/breaking your make-up is no fun. If you went through this recently, I'm sending virtual hugs your way.  But don't forget, it's not the end of the world. Mmkay?

1.02.2016

2015: The year of awesomeness

Dear 2015,

As I say goodbye to you, I can't help but feel just a tiny bit apprehensive about starting anew and welcoming 2016 with open arms. In my 23 years of existence, I've had my fair share of memorable moments, but I think you'll always be remembered as being one of the best year ever.  When I cast my mind back to last year, I recall feeling anxious. I was scared about my incoming internship, of failing and disappointing my parents. All throughout my four years of training to be a nurse, I always doubted my ability to succeed. I never believed in myself and in what I can do. No amount of academic achievements could untie me from the tight grip of self-doubt. For a really long time, I truly  believed that I would never be good enough. Then I found out I was graduating not only with a Bachelor of Science in General Nursing, but the final GPA  I'd earned entitled me to be awarded with First Class Honours degree. I never imagined that I would walk away with a 1:1, but little old me did the impossible. I went for my first job interview and voila. I bagged a staff nurse position in a nursing speciality I really wanted: Anaesthetics& Recovery. Starting my career as a nurse so soon after qualifying just showed me how blessed I am. Forgive me, 2015 for ever thinking you were going to be a disappointment. You were nothing but awesome. Because you've been so amazing, it's only right that I share the highlights which made you a stellar year of finding success, forming stronger friendships, great beginnings, travel and partying like it was going out of fashion.

Graduation

Four years went by so quickly, but there were days when it seemed like graduation was out of my reach. Nursing school is not for the faint-hearted. It will have you question your sanity a billion times and then some, leave you wanting to bash your head against the wall as you stay up, doing an all nighter writing a care plan. Coffee will become your new best friend, so much so you'll wish that it can be introduce as an intravenous fluid.You'll meet patients who will forever stay in your heart. You'll comfort the dying and their family, you'll hold a hand of an anxious patient awaiting surgery or their diagnosis. You'll try your best not to get too emotional involved, but ultimately, you end up doing so. For every moment that I shed a tear of frustration and sadness (with some of joy too), I thank God for allowing me to do what I do. For teaching me the importance of patience, persevering, caring and advocating for those who can't do that for themselves. I decided to spend the rest of my life healing the sick, because I know that not all superheroes wear capes. Some of them happen to wear scrubs. :D I feel so proud to call myself a NURSE.  To my alma mater, UCD, thank you for the two scholarships.

Graduation Ball

What's graduation without a ball? We ditched our uniforms and glammed up for the night. It was held in The Gibson Hotel. It was nice seeing people dress to the nines to celebrate such a milestone in our lives. A night of great food, fab company, dancing and a photo booth that everyone took advantage of. Because there is always a time for countless selfies. Awards were given out on the night for the craic, like 'Most likely to marry a doctor'. Sadly, I didn't win the 'Best 6am make-up and hair' but I didn't lose sleep over it because when you have to wake up at 6 am to attend clinicals, I will always pick the snooze button over my concealer. Lol. Major thumbs up for the free-flowing mulled wine available at reception that night which made it that extra special.

Last Day in UCD

September 15 2015, I remember you so well. It was the day we submitted our DOCATs for the last time which meant that we passed our internship and we were set to graduate. Getting through the last four years had it's tough moments, but without my gal pals, I wouldn't have made it. So of course, when you get through something as major as a nursing degree, in one piece, you take photos. Plenty of them so that in case you get amnesia, you'll always remember it. :)



Palma, Majorca

With the end of my student life, there was only one way to celebrate and finally let loose. The girls and I headed to the beautiful sunny island, that is Majorca for 4 nights. It was incredible.  I didn't meet my Pedro or my Juan, but I did take away with me some lovely memories to look back on. We did the traditional sight seeing. We visited the breathtaking Palma Cathedral, Cuevas del Drach and Castell de Bellver.  Nearly drowning in Western Water Park, Magaluf was no fun, but man was it a blast. I was brave and went on the Multipistas. TWICE. Oh my heart. Google it and see for yourself. The girls and I even went on the Mega Slide. We were nearly tossed out in the air. Scary, but so exhilarating. The ultimate highlight of Majorca though? Going to sleep at 11 pm, only to wake up one hour later to party it up in Magaluf. Come home at 5 am and wake up at 7 am to go sight-seeing. The only way I know how. Lol. If you haven't been to BCM, Planet Dance, do yourself a favour and go. one word: AMAZING!!!!!!




Girls' Night Outs & Being Silly

I do love a night out or two. Painting the town red is one of my favorite ways to unwind after a stressful week at work. I consider dancing like a possessed woman on the dance floor at 2-3 am a real skill, especially when you have to dodge the drinks being spilled all around you. If you ever see me out on the dance floor, don't hesitate to come over. I'll teach you the ways of Zumba. Diane style.  Favourite night out last year? My b-day. What a fun night. (2nd collage)

So that's a wrap, 2015. You've been incredible. Thank you for the memories. I'll miss you, but I know that 2016 will be as kind to me. Here's hoping I find my Pedro/Juan. Adios, 2015.