Big Love for Bourjois

The world of beauty is notoriously fickle. With new products being launched on a daily basis, our loyalties for brands and their products are regularly put to the test. The must have product today, will soon become yesterday's news as we try to keep up with the latest releases. However, a quick browse through my beauty stash and it's pretty clear that I'm loyal to one drugstore/highstreet brand. Bourjois, je t'aime. From their foundations, primers, concealers, mascaras, lip products and right down to their nail care products, you name it, I've tried it. Not all products take my fancy, but for the most part, Bourjois hardly puts a foot wrong. Thus it's one of the few brands I genuinely get very excited about when I hear they're launching new products. Below is my edit of the best products it has to offer.

When I think of bases, Bourjois automatically springs to mind because they know exactly where it's at. My love for Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream is well documented. A great everyday base because it's not only a dream to apply, the natural looking sheer luminous finish instantly counteracts fatigue and redness. It has a light to medium coverage. Great for ladies who prefer to keep their bases lightweight, fuss-free (finger application is best suited here) and as simple as can be. If I'm looking for more coverage, I reach for the Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation in 55 Dark Beige. It has to be said that the level of coverage still sits between light to medium, depending on method of application. Personally, I prefer to apply it using my fingers. However, applying it with the Real Techniques Buffing Brush would certainly boost its coverage. As the consistency differs from the CC Cream (think less runny and more 'gel' like) it covers blemishes in a way that my beloved CC Cream can't. It imparts a dewy radiant finish, creating a complexion that's fresh, glowing and youthful. Infused with lychee, goji berries and pomegranate, I find the formula hydrating and a savior of dry skin. Just don't forget to set it with a mattifying powder as things can get oily throughout the day.

The Healthy Balance Powder in 53 Light Beige go hand in hand with the Healthy Mix Serum and other foundations with dewy finishes. Quick dusting of this over my t-zone and that's oiliness kept at arm's length. It mattifies, but still manages to let a hint of radiance to peek through, thus preventing the skin from looking flat and cakey. It's my go to for setting my under- eye concealer too.

These days, mascaras are definitely back on my radar and I have Volume 1 Seconde Mascara to thank for that. It single-handedly reingited my interest in mascaras. It lengthens, defines, volumises and manages to hold a curl without leaving my lashes in a clumpy mess. Only downside? It smudges as the day goes by, but nothing a swipe using my pinky won't fix.

And lastly we have Rouge Edition Velvet in 05 Ole Flamingo. No adjectives will ever suffice to fully capture how I feel about this lip shade. Let's just say I can no longer imagine my life without it. This vibrant deep cerise pink  will forever be my fave drugstore lip product. I simply don't have anything quite like it in my collection. For days I'm feeling more drab than fab, I reach for this and it brightens up my complexion. It's THE shade I know I can slick on and feel instantly good in. Matte and opaque, it stays on and on with a stain that lasts up to 6 hours. And no, the compliments I receive whenever I'm wearing this have nothing to do with it. I swear. ;)

Two products that deserve honorable mentions are Magic 2 in 1 nail polish remover and Instant Dry Nail Drops because removing nail polishes and waiting for them to dry are two things no girl should ever endure for long, if there's a way to do it half the time.

And there we have it. Clearly when it comes to drugstore beauty, Bourjois wears the crown. I'm open for a debate though. Agree or disagree?


The GET FIT pledge

Okay. I need to get something off my chest because I am feeling overwhelmed with guilt. Last year, I was on a roll. My fitness gear was in full swing. Determined and motivated, I used to hit up the gym 3 to 4 times a week before attending my lectures. ( I also had a short lived love affair with karate, by that I mean I attended 4 classes.Let's move on) I went from couch potato to fitness junkie almost overnight. My mind and body craved working out, to the point I was waking up at 5:30 am to start sweating. Much to my surprise and delight,  I LOVED every single minute. Aside from basking in post-workout flush, the boost of endorphins and increase in my energy levels left me not only looking but also feeling better. The high that you get after a hardcore but equally rewarding workout routine? Damn. I miss it. You see, I've fallen off the fitness wagon for the past few months now. And let's just say that I haven't quite managed to pick myself back up. In short, I'm back exactly where I started.

When I cast my mind back to September of last year, when I decided to overhaul my lifestyle, I remember the reasons why I felt motivated enough to purchase a pair of Nike running shoes. My primary goal was to lose weight. I neglected my body for so long. I was tired of looking at clothes that would never fit me. I was fed up of constantly feeling so tired when I barely lifted a finger. It was all due to the foods I was eating and my lack of physical activity. It wasn't all about shedding the pounds though. I vowed to not be a slave to the weighing scale. Instead, I made a promise to myself that I'm going to concentrate on how my clothes would start to fit me. How I'd able to go down several flights of stairs without running out of breath and how I'm able to run for the bus without feeling like my lungs are going to explode into a million pieces. Sexy. How alert and alive I'd feel after each trip to the gym. My fitness mojo lasted for months until I hit a dead-end.

I've never been the kind of person that goes ''Exercise? Hell yeah I want to get sweaty'' But I became THAT person. The first couple of sessions were tough and I literally felt like I was on the verge of death. As the weeks went by though, I became stronger which made me feel powerful and capable of accomplishing anything. For the first time, in a very long time, I was connected to my body.  Sadly, when I look in the mirror I no longer see that girl. So what exactly happened? I guess I'm the type of individual who favors instant gratification and results. I wanted them and I wanted them fast. So when I didn't see the results I desperately sought, I found it easier to throw in the towel rather than finding the motivation to keep going. Mistake #1. Mistake #2? I kept coming up with excuses. Be it that I work full time, the gym was far away (UCD is 1 hour and 30 min bus ride) and my personal favorite ''But it's raininnngggggg. Hello Netflix day.'' As if the rain is a good enough  reason to stay in and be a sloth for the rest of the day. Silly excuses, I know. If you wait for perfect conditions, you'll never get anything done. That's me told then. I failed to realized back then that staying consistent is the key to my success.

The journey towards a healthier and better you will not be smooth sailing. There will be certain obstacles along the way. But lack of motivation should not be one of them. Although I acknowledge the fact that there will be days when exercising is the last thing I would want to do, I'm choosing to make the commitment to myself that from here on in, I'm going to train and ensure physical activity is a part of what I do on a daily basis, irrespective of what else is on my schedule. I'm pledging to GET FIT! 

Primary goal this time around? I want to improve my endurance and aerobic fitness. I want to be able to run faster and longer than ever before with shorter rest periods between intervals. Overall, I just want to improve the quality of my life. I want to feel vibrant, energized and powerful 24/7.

Feeling like your commitment to change is under threat? Here are my top tips on how to reconnect  with your self-motivation, thus allowing you to commit and follow through your personal goals.

Start Small
I started on cardio because I knew my cardiovascular function was not at a place where it should be. The problem arose when I wanted to start weight training too. For someone who's a newbie, it's better to start small and work your way up. As I've said, I haven't been to the gym for weeks. To kick start and reignite my love for working out, I shall enlist the help of Cassey Ho and follow her Blogilates workout vids. Fun, free and effective regimes? What's not to love?

Set realistic goals
So you want a Victoria's Secret Angel body and a sculpted killer washboard abs like Gisele Bundchen. I hear you. While there's no harm in aspiring to achieve that level of hotness, it's more effective to set realistic goals that you know you can accomplish within a specific time frame.For example, being able to run 10+ km/hr on the treadmill without losing your cool. Right now, I can run 10 km/hr for about 3 mins. Atrocious isn't? We have to start somewhere. By the end of  summer, I'm hoping that I'll be able to run 12 km/hr for 10 mins without stopping. Hard? Yes. Impossible? No.

Plan ahead
Planning ahead is essential as it holds you accountable for both your actions and inactions. Personally I love writing down my workout plan for the day as putting it down on paper means I'm scheduling it. Scheduling means I'm going to take it more seriously. So if my planner says I'm doing 100 sit ups, 100 criss-crosses, 200 reverse crunches  and 1 1/2 hours of cardio, then that's what I'm going to do. Planning ahead means your workout has a clear direction.  No cheating allowed. 

Change your mindset
No matter what you do, don't feel disheartened. There's no easy way to inject exercise motivation into your life every day. Negative commentary such as ''This is what was handed down to me by genetics. I can't change. Why fight it? ''  will certaintly not help.  So delete those thoughts from your mind. For you to succeed at transforming yourself, you need to believe that it is POSSIBLE. In order to make the commitment to train day after day and eat healthier require one's belief in himself/herself.  For inspiration I love using mantras. Personal favorites? ''You've to train like a beast to look like a beauty'' and ''Strive for progress. Not perfection'' Repeat several times and you'd start to feel the power of those words. 

Switch it up
The idea of working out is usually met with a bunch of groans across the board. How to stop viewing it as a chore and turn it into something that you look forward to doing? Switch it up. Endless cardio? Puh-lease. Find activities that thrills you. Incorporating a variety of activities to your workout plan from dancing, yoga, cycling ets ensures that no sweat day is ever the same. Hence, you're going to be more motivated and actually stick to it because you love doing it. I'm convinced I'm a water baby so swimming is my favorite form of exercise. I also love dancing so learning the choreographies of Matt Steffanina is high on my to do list. Favorite songs to dance to right now: Do It Again by Pia Mia ft Chris Brown and Tyga and Somebody by Natalie La Rose and Jeremih. For more of my favorite workout songs, check out my Gym Playlist

Remember why you started
When you have no physical reasons for not giving it your all, address your lack of mental energy. For this, it's important to remind yourself of the reasons why you started. For me it's about feeling good inside, having more energy and wanting to look my best for my graduation later this year. If that's not motivating enough, what is?

My body is the only body I will ever have. If I'm not going to take care of it, who will? I'm looking forward to finding my inner athlete again. I'm excited to see the reflection of the girl who finds happiness upon discovering the joy of moving my body and pushing its limits, one who makes a conscious effort to prioritize fitness,staring right back at me. 


The Dream Team

Meet Brave. Meet Soar. Otherwise known as the 'Dream Team' because combined together, they just create all sorts of beautiful magic. Worn together, I can't help but feel like a bona fide bombshell (excuse my pathetic attempt of channeling my inner Megan Fox in the photo above) Between you and me, the obsession with achieving the Kylie Jenner lip was and still is beyond my understanding. Back when the whole thing kicked off out of nowhere and quickly spread like wildfire, I was ready with my fire blanket to put out the flames. Why did every single girl suddenly wanted to rock brown nude lip shades? I guess the influence of the Kardashians/Jenners over our lives was greater than we thought. To the point that young girls were risking their health and safety by participating in the #kyliejennerchallenge .People, why?

I never meant to join the bandwagon, but the constant raves about Mac Soar (as per Kim, this is one of the lip liners that Kylie wears regularly) got me searching for this most wanted convict (Clearly I've been watching too many episodes of Prison Break. Lincoln Burrows, call me ;) ).  Seriously, it was constantly sold out E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E. I managed to track this elusive lip pencil by stalking Brown Thomas religiously for weeks until one blessed day, it finally arrived on my doorstep. So what exactly is the deal with SOAR? And more importantly, is it worth the hype and trouble of tracking it down? The answer? YES!

Soar is a cool toned deep mauve-pink. The rosy tone of the shade stops it from looking ashy and washing out my complexion. Soar is not my first lip pencil from Mac. Cherry got there first, but as of writing, it's been missing for the last 8 months. (I'm still grieving. It's pretty hard to move on from that one). The texture and formula of Soar quickly reminded me of what I have lost and come to love about this offering from Mac. In terms of formula, Mac lip pencils are on top of the lip liner hierarchy. Smooth and creamy, it glides easily without tugging on the lips. Despite a matte finish, it's pretty non-drying. All that and it's incredibly pigmented and long-lasting? No wonder why I'm happy to sport Soar on its own.

Whilst I enjoy wearing Soar by its lonesome, it's twice as fun having Mac Brave around. Brave is a soft medium pink  with a satin finish. It leans fairly on the cool side when I wear it on its own, but paired with Soar's deep rosy-mauve tones? They're best friends for life. Truth be told, Soar is that kind of shade that would simply get on well with just about any pink-toned lipsticks. It's also the perfect companion to Patisserie. It looks amazing when put in a tandem with a nude, but looks equally beautiful and wearable on its own. Defining and making lips appear fuller in an instant.

I am madly in love with this lip combination, hence why I am getting through them at a worrying speed. Must I try to put a stop to this love affair for the sake of the well-being of my purse? I don't think so.


Lily Rose Co.

Just like any girl in the world, I have a deep appreciation and love for all things beautiful. I love looking at pretty things (duh, who doesn't?). There's one online shop in particular that I enjoy stalking visiting because I'm guaranteed to fall in love with every single item. The one and only Lily Rose Co formerly known as Gift&Pieces. Run and owned by the lovely lifestyle blogger Abby this one stop shop to satisfy one's lust for items worthy of the heart-eyed emoji offers a range of modern and chic home decor, beautiful gift ideas, stationery and even wedding supplies. My self -control is always tested whenever I click on the website. If only I didn't have to be a responsible adult, I'd happily spend my monthly wages. But my guilty conscience always prevails. However, there were two occasions when my inner Becky Bloomwood came out to play. The items featured here were purchased way back in September 2014 and February 2015. (Links to items still available are included).

With the help of Lily Rose Co, I'm:

Sipping on my favorite beverage-hot chocolate from these two adorable mugs. The Polka Dot Monogrammed Mug with my initial D caught my eye first. The distinctive gold handle and aqua coloured polka dots just melted my heart. As for the Hello Beautiful Powder Blue and Silver Birdy Mug  (£9.20) I can't help but smile whenever I drink my daily dose of coffee because the Hello Beautiful message engraved inside is an instant mood booster. My very own cheerleader. :)

Preserving my favorite memories with the Rustic White Square Photo Frame. I have yet to actually print out a photo to place here, but I have every intention of doing so ASAP. Because as much as I love Instagram, I long to go back to old fashioned ways of admiring photos. And this one is right up my alley because I'm loving its vintage shabby chic look.                                                                                                            

Holding small tea light candles in this cute Watering Can Tea Light Holder #toomuchcuteness #icant

Displaying my favorite nail polishes on this Eiffel Tower Jewellery Dish. Since I'm allergic to nickel, jewellery is pretty much a no go for me. So I thought of using this dish as a beautiful way to showcase my nail polish picks (Yep, Essie Fiji occupies a permanent spot here)

Keeping random knicks- knacks such as bobby pins out of harm's way in this simple but useful Everything Starts With A Dream Storage Box (£3.00)  because I have a habit of losing pins all the time. While I've owned about 190582364745 bobby pins, on any given day, I'm left possessing only two. How it happens will forever remain a mystery to me.

Speaking of keeping things out of harm's way, I'm keeping a close eye on my iPhone with the help of this White Wooden iPhone Stand (£4.00) because while I'm an adult,  there are days when I lose my iPhone right in the comfort of our home. Then a mini heart attack ensues. To prevent that, this chic stand serves a very useful purpose. No need to ask my family to give me a call to locate my missing phone. Hallelujah.

Storing my eye brushes and favorite eye and lip products in these clear Decorative Glass Love Birds Small and Medium Vase. The love birds perched on top of the glasses is enough to make you believe in love and squeal with delight. I love these storage solutions for how elegant and sleek they look on top of my dressing table.

My collection of gorgeous Lily Rose Co items stops here. For now. Come payday, I think my inner Becky Bloomwood is coming out to play once more. Damn. #dangerdanger I'd highly recommend browsing through Lily Rose Co. as the items are just to die for and would instantly beautify your home. As for their customer service? I've had several issues including one broken and missing item, but Abby was always helpful and attentive with quick responses, offering a refund and replacement. Good customer service is what keeps customers coming back and I'm happy to report that Lily Rose Co. have it in spades.


I spy.... a rather big Boots haul.

Breaking news: I can't set foot in Boots unsupervised, because left to my own devices, I'd end up shopping for the entire of Ireland. I'd end up walking away with a million and one products I truly don't need which brings us here, folks. I call it the got to catch 'em all syndrome. It's pretty bad and there's no cure. Not like I'm going out of my way to find one. In fact, I've spent some serious amount on cosmetics in the last few weeks. Let's just say that the word regret is not in my vocabulary.

While I have a solid base wardrobe that's currently serving me well (I'm still 1289745 inches deep in love with Bourjois CC Cream) the beauty addict in me wanted to road test other foundations. L'Oreal Infallible 24 Hour Foundation in 235 Honey is a pretty reliable option for evening out the complexion and covering blemishes without masking. The thick consistency is not something I'm normally used to. Most of my favorite bases such as Bourjois CC Cream and Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum have a runny consistency that blends so seamlessly into the skin. but surprisingly this offering from L'Oreal blends easily as well. It provides a medium to high coverage without leaving the face in a cakey mess. As it's enriched with hydrating hyaluron, I find that it's very comfortable to wear and very forgiving on the ol' dry patches. Plus points? My dry skin is loving the radiant finish. I'm rather besotted with it. The consistency of Maybelline Dream Flawless Nude Foundation in 40 Fawn is the complete opposite. It's definitely more watery, hence it applies so easily. I prefer using my fingers with this one as the heat from my fingertips just makes it easier to apply.For a foundation that is so weightless on the skin, it offers an impressive virtually flawless coverage. Although gals with acne scars etc may need to enlist the help of concealers.

I rarely use powder to set my make-up in place as I constantly suffer from dry patches (I swear I drink my 8 glasses of water a day) but I also suffer from oily t-zone throughout the day. The majority of the time, I'm usually in the comfort of my own home when my face resembles a frying pan but for days when I'm 99.9% sure I'm going to need some mattifying action, I purchased Bourjois Health Balance Powder in 53 Light Beige to help combat shine and this lightweight, finely milled pressed powder does a stellar job. Banishes any unwanted shine, it sets foundation beautifully (This is a must-have when I use the Healthy Mix Serum) whilst still retaining some sheen thus my complexion never looks flat. In short, this baby mattifies, but it knows where to draw the line. Awesome. 

These past few weeks, I barely recognise myself in the mirror anymore. What makes me say that? Well, I've gone from not wearing mascara at all, to wearing it every. single. day. Trust me, I'm very suprised too. Gone are the days when I wouldn't give them the time of day. I never bothered with them as I found them too time consuming to apply and for what? In exchange of little to no effect on my lashes? Hell no, this girl ain't got the time. But then I picked up Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde mascara and now I'm freaking obsessed with lashing on the stuff as if there's no tomorrow. To make up for lost time, I went ahead and picked up two more mascaras in the form of Maybelline Lash Sensational mascara and Max Factor Masterpiece Glamour Extensions in the span of a week. Yes a week. The Bourjois mascara is great at volumising and lengthening. The thick wand grabs every lash, coats them with the jet black formula  and leaves them looking ten times better. My only gripe with the formula is that it smudges so at the end of the day, I've to be prepared to say hi to panda eyes, but I can live with that. The Maybelline one is rather clever. The wand contains small inner bristles that captures each lash even the teeny tiny ones, lengthening them in the process. Simply rotate the wand to use the outer bristles and it builds up where the tiny bristles left off. Volumising thus creating fuller looking lashes without clumping. As for the Max Factor? I haven't tried it yet so I can't give my two cents.

Speaking of not trying products yet, I purchased L'Oreal Infallible Mattifying Base and Bourjois Happy Light Matte Serum Primer but haven't given them a try. I don't know why I went for two mattifying primers considering I love a good dewy complexion. Told you, I don't recognise myself anymore. WHO are you?!?

I'm a massive fan of the Bourjois Color Boost Crayons and for good reason. Glossy, pigmented and hydrating, it's easy to see why I'm smitten. Bourjois brought out new shades earlier on this year and Sweet Macchiato a brown toned warm berry shade joined Orange Punch and Red Sunrise in my collection. Like its siblings, it's a must-have.

Are french manicures and pedicures still a thing? According to Sali Hughes it's a resounding no and I quote from her Pretty Honest book ''French manicures are absolutely not invited to join the twenty-first century'' I love Sali, but I beg to disagree. Call me old-fashioned, but a couple of weeks ago, I felt nostalgic and as a massive throwback to my 15 year old self obsessed with pink nail polish combined with bright white tips, I bought the Bourjois French Manicure Kit. Because sometimes, you have to be a rebel.

From the moment Essie Fiji entered the scene, I've spent quite a lot of time day dreaming about the next shade deserving a place in my collection (only A-listers are allowed). It was a close fight between Mint Candy Apple, Bordeaux and Lilacism, but in the end I ended up going for the Essie Wedding Collection because hello, the cuteness. This mini set includes Hubby For Dessert (love the name) a pale milky lilac, Vanity Fairest a sheer shimmery baby pink and Brides No Grooms (Essie is killing me with the cuteness) a bright pink.These trio got me wishing I was heading to the altar already. Question is, which shade is the ONE? All three shades are super duper easy to apply. I like that a lot.

Because I live by the mantra that a girl can never have enough brushes to paint her daily masterpiece, as soon as I found out that Sam and Nic Chapman were releasing the Bold Metals Collection, a new line of luxe brushes, I knew it was only a matter of time before I succumbed. Out of all the brushes available, the 301 Flat Contour brush got my full attention. I suppose, a never ending contouring obsession does that to a person. Honestly, I haven't given this a road test yet as I'm saving it for when I get my hands on the Charlotte Tilbury Norman Parkinson Filmstar Bronze and Glow. I have the powder version , but I see this brush working best with cream formulas, hence the waiting game. July, pls come soon. A full report card will be up when I finally put it to the test, but for now? Let's just admire the pretty rose gold packaging.

Right at this point, I think it's time I surrender my debit card and Boots Advantage Card to someone, but not before I pick up more Essie polishes. #noselfcontrol


The Gym Playlist

Gym. I love and loathe it in equal measure. Nothing beats the high you get after a good session of sweating your derriere off, owing to that quick burst of endorphins that floods your bloodstream.  But the actual process of lifting your ass off  the couch and drag it all the way to the dungeon of terror? (yes, I sometimes refer to it as that) is another matter entirely. THE EFFORT!!!!! But you know what helps to set the wheels in motion?  A reliable playlist that you can rely on to support you in your quest to become the next Victoria's Secret Angel (I'd just settle for looking less like a big toe). Below are my picks. The songs included either have a sick beat or inspiring and motivational lyrics.

When you'd rather pull both eyeballs out than run like an eejit on the treadmill: 
Work Bitch by Britney Spears
I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas
Let's Go by Calvin Harris ft Ne-Yo
Masterpiece by Jessie J
I Will Never Let You Down by Rita Ora

As you enter the gym, you want to raise your morale as high as it could go, fake your confidence and pretend you know exactly what you're doing by listening to:
Who Dat Girl by Flo Rida ft Akon
This Girl by Laza Morgan
Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani
Hypnotized by Plies ft Akon

Working on your glutes, quads and hamstrings? Work through your squats with:
Booty by Jennifer Lopez ft Iggy Azalea
Booty Wurk by T-Pain ft Joey Galaxy
My Humps by The Black Eyed Peas
With Legs Like That by Zebrahead

For that moment you find yourself in pure agony, going _ km/hr on the treadmill, dripping in sweat, cheeks so red, heart beating so fast and your mind screams ''Pls, no more. I beg you. You ain't an Olympian sprinter. Who do you think you are? Usain Bolt?'' 
Bounce by Iggy Azalea
Love Me Like You Do by Ellie Goulding (that 3rd round of chorus after the verse that starts with 'Yeah, I'll let you set the pace?' Works like a charm. Every. Damn. Painful. Time.) 
Dirrty by Christina Aguilera 'sweat dripping over my body'
Church by T-Pain
You Gotta Want It by Jordin Sparks
Shawty Get Loose by Lil Mama ft Chris Brown and T-Pain

We all know that cardio is boring, so spice up your workout and power through the elliptical/ stationary bike/rowing machine with these jams:
Mama by Christopher
I'm A Freak by Enrique Iglesias
Bailando by Enrique Iglesias
La La La by Naughty Boy ft Sam Smith
Show Me The Money by Petey Pablo
Dangerous Love by Fuse ODG ft Sean Paul
Break Free by Ariana Grande ft Zedd
Last Friday Night by Katy Perry
Fire Burning by Sean Kingston
369 by Cupid ft B.o.B
Ayo by Chris Brown ft Tyga
Papi by Jennifer Lopez
Famous by Charli XCX
Goodies by Ciara ft Petey Pablo
1, 2 Step by Ciara ft Missy Elliot
Timber by Pitbull ft Kesha

You're down to your last few reps of lifting weights etc, but while your mind is crying out for you to keep pushing, deep in your heart you just want to walk out already. Push through that boundary and train like a breast by bringing out the big guns:
Numb by Linkin Park 
Lose Yourself by Eminem
Fighter by Christina Aguilera 
More by Usher ''I'm a beast, I'm an animal, I'm that Monster in the mirror.... Gonna push it to the limit, give it more''

At last you've finished your workout. It sure wasn't easy. You're sweaty Betty, but boy does it feel so damn good. Bask in your hard-earned post workout glow by blaring out: 
Pretty Girls by Britney Spears & Iggy Azalea
Fancy by Iggy Azalea ft Charli XCX ''hot girl, hands off, don't touch that. Look at that, I bet you wishing you could clutch that''
Beautiful by Akon ft Colby O'Donis
On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons

You've earned those sweat patches, go rock them girlfriend.... 


Essie Fiji is just so fetch

Painting my nails was never a favorite hobby of mine. I love having my talons painted especially when they have a glossy finish, but the effort required to get there? That I despise with passion. I blame it on my unsteady hands. Hello, streak galore. But as the saying goes 'you never know what you have until it's gone'.  Given the profession that I'm in, wearing nail polishes on a regular basis is no longer possible. Sure on my days off, I can lacquer up to my heart's content, but the reality of the matter is, the happiness will always be short-lived as I have to remove it all again for the following shift that week. First world problems right there. 

So as it's more of a treat nowadays, I've learned to cherish and appreciate the entire process of nail polish application. But as 9 times out of 10, I'm still way to lazy to bother applying the stuff, a nail polish must be pretty darn special to change my ways.

Essie Fiji is one of the lucky ones. Billed as my all time favorite polish (yes, I totally went there), this stunning white based milky baby pink, paired with its creamy opaque finish is one of those 'Gosh.. I cant stop staring at my nails' love affairs. It looks so neat, ladylike, chic and is uber flattering on the nails and my skin complexion. For a pastel, I'm pretty impressed with its formula as 1 coat nearly leaves an opaque finish and unlike the other pastels that came before it, it doesn't apply all that streaky. There's still some degree of streakiness to deal with, but it's nothing that 2 coats in and some patience won't fix. Suddenly, shelling out 9.99 euro for a bottle of the stuff, ain't so bad. I've only one thing left to say Essie Fiji, you're just SO fetch! Regina George would be so proud. It's 2015. Please, can we just make fetch happen already?


Because pretty make-up deserves a pretty home

Buying make-up especially products with to die for packaging is pointless if they don't have a beautiful place to call home. A bit harsh? Maybe, but the truth all the same. Which is why, it is with great pleasure that I introduce you to this babe of a make-up bag. Because let's face it. The obsession with beauty products will always co-exist with a love for pretty bags.

Say hello to my SewLomax Lipstick Pouch. Ain't she a sight for sore eyes? Finding beautiful make-up bags has proven difficult for me. Tired of seeing mass produced make-up bags, I longed for a quirky and unique design. Thankfully I stumbled upon the British brand SewLomax (now called Emma Lomax) on twitter. The brand was created by the talented Emma Lomax who offers a plethora of hand-crafted embroidered make-up pouches, wash bags, travel bags and cushions. Each bag is hand stitched all the way in India using ethically sourced materials. When I saw this bag way back in September of last year, I knew I had to have it. At that time, I was hesitant at first upon seeing that it retailed for £25. I love the bag, but could I really part ways with £25 for a make-up bag? By some miracle though, the answer was made for me. Who answered it? Feel Unique who back then, stocked it. It was included in their sale and for the price of 20 euro, it became mine. It came beautifully wrapped in cute gift tissue packaging and presented in a SewLomax stamped box which makes for an ideal storage solution. 

The attention to detail is second to none. Made from a 100% canvas like material with waterproof red nylon lining, the bag features seventeen embroidered red lipsticks. As a lover of rouge lipsticks, it's pretty damn clear why I'm besotted with it. The color scheme of black, red, cream and gold adds a touch of glamour and just compliment one another. The contrast of the bright red lipsticks with the cream pouch is just beautiful. I may have the tendency to look at this just a tad too long whenever it's sitting pretty on top of my dressing table. The bag itself is 13 cm in height, 21 cm in width and 8 cm in diameter. As the bag is made of canvas material, it's flexible and manages to hold quite a lot of my beauty junk while still maintaining its shape. It's spacious and roomy, thus perfectly suited to house the small big army of products I like to bring along with me as I go about my daily business (even though I hardly ever touch up my make-up. I'm weird. Let's move on). I love that the bag manages to stay upright even if there's no product inside. #itsthelittlesthings The shade cream is never ideal when it comes to make-up because it's obviously prone to gathering a million make-up stains, but I've had this since September and I have yet to find a stain. Maybe it's got to do with my carefulness, but when you have a bag as beautiful as this, you're going to do everything to protect it, right?

The best bit? There's an option to personalise the bags by having a personal message embroidered on the back of the bag. For a mere £0.05, you can add a touch of uniqueness. If you wanted to go one step further, there's also the option of designing your own bag. As I purchased mine from Feel Unique, I didn't get to avail of this offer, but the next time I find myself with spare £20, I'm going to purchase another bag, because while it seems expensive for a make-up bag, I can vouch for the quality of it. The cream version is no longer available, but the equally beautiful black version is up for grabs. Hmm. Seems like my next purchase is set in stone already. Only thing left to decide on? The message. I'm thinking 'the glamorous, oh the flossy, flossy' Throwback to 2007. Major points if you get the reference. :)


Most loved beauty products of 2014

It's that time again about time for me to look back over the past year and announce the best products the beauty industry has to offer. Okay. So this post is clearly way overdue. Hello. We're fast approaching the middle of 2015, for crying out loud, DIANE! I actually debated whether or not to still write about my 2014 product favourites, but seeing as 2014 was a phenomenal year for trying out new brands, I just had to. I know I say it all the time whenever I compile this annual post, but trust me when I say that 2014 will go down as one of my favourite year in terms of product discovery. I started my first job last year so needless to say, I had the funds to go beyond the walls of Boots and explore the extravagant beauty hall of Brown Thomas. Grown up version of Disneyland? Hell yes! But while I can now afford a weekly splurge, the drugstore offerings will forever have a very special place in my heart. If the product works, it works. I'm not going to be persuaded by its price tag. Now the products included in this post were not necessarily new releases, per se. Apart from the Bourjois products, the rest have been around for years now, but I only discovered, purchased and loved them in 2014. Enough word vomit from me. Here are my most used  make-up products of 2014.

When it comes to my everyday base, I'm always going to dig a light, fresh and dewy complexion. To be a contender for my everyday base of choice, there are several criteria. It has to provide medium coverage while remaining lightweight on the skin and blend easily and seamlessly into the skin. Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream in 33 Rose Beige fits the bill perfectly. 90% of time, this was my base of choice in 2014. For a flawless, no fuss just straight up healthy natural looking base, this was my weapon. It smoothes and evens out my complexion without masking, immediately covering redness. As it imparts a subtle luminous finish, it counteracts fatigue, instantly adding life back to my dull looking skin. As if the lovely finish is not enough, the runny/watery texture makes it a dream to apply as it blends easily upon contact with the skin. No need for my Real Techniques Buffing Brush. This task is one best suited for the fingers. Boasting an impressive amount of coverage while still feeling beautifully light on this skin? Me gusta.

Before I start to harp on about my love for Benefit Hoola Bronzer , let me dedicate this moment to my long lost, much loved bronzer. The wonder that was Nars Casino. I lost it way back in October and after searching high and low, it never resurfaced again. It was my trusted ally when it came to tackling my round cheeks. But while I continue to pray for the day we reunite, I've turned to Hoola
to give me that sought after chiseled look. Because sadly, I wasn't blessed with Keira Knightley-esque cheekbones. As Hoola is a medium dark brown and has a matte finish, it's perfect for contouring. The powder is a breeze to blend, thanks to its lovely velvety texture. Team up with either  my Real Techniques Contour Brush (for some contouring action underneath my cheekbones) or my Real Techniques Blush Brush for an all over gorgeous sun-kissed glow, it's faultless. (Casino, I still bloody miss you, pls don't hold it against me.)

Blushes. Ah blushes. It was either Chanel Presage (62) Le Blush Creme de Chanel or Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso. There was no in between. Luminoso's finely milled texture just blends so seamlessly into the skin, so much so that not considering it as a daily blush of choice is just foolish. This peachy pink goodness with its tiny gold shimmers is the must have item in your beauty arsenal for instant glowy cheeks without ever looking OTT. As for Presage? It's just another no brainer. A gorgeous apricot shade with a creamy texture that transforms into a powder-like finish, the second it's applied to the skin. Having a light cream consistency, it readily blends into the skin without a great deal of effort. Can you tell I like my products that require little effort? Lazy who? But kidding aside, applying Presage is always such a joy because whether I opt for my fingers or my trusted Sigma Duo Fibre F50, the highly pigmented hue blends easily, leaving an impeccable, natural long wearing flush of colour.

Eyes wise, not much has changed. It's still all about the neutral eyeshadows. One such palette that I've drooled over for more than a year finally found its way into my arms. Too Faced Natural Eyes palette, I didn't particularly need you as I have my Urban Decay Naked Palettes to satisfy my love for neutral shades, but just because I didn't need you doesn't mean that I didn't want you. 9 shades of pigmented and super blendable shades which have been compiled in such a way that you can create a ton of looks to suit your taste on a particular day? Seriously, what's not to love?  Every single shade applies beautifully, owing to their soft and creamy texture. And with four matte and 5 shimmer shades, I literally don't think I can go wrong with this palette at my disposal. I'll admit that I don't particularly care much for Heaven as I simply don't have any use for it, but the remaining 8 shades are indispensable especially Push-Up. Because damn... That shimmery pink- bronze is just an eye candy. (see what I did there?) 
From one palette to another, this duo offering from Mac was compiled by me and boy oh boy. Just look at the adorable size of it. Pls tell me that I'm not alone? It houses All That Glitters and Sable.  
A pairing that's simply meant to be. If you're stuck for an everyday choice of colors for the lids, put your trust in this pairing and don't look back. They've got your back. Considering how popular All That Glitters is among beauty bloggers, I knew I had to get in on the action and marvel at this beaut of a shimmery golden beige and all that it has to offer. Quick wash of this all over the lids, on its own instantly brightens my make-up look. Pair it with Sable, a gorgeous golden plum on the crease... And bam. We've got ourselves a winner. They just work in perfect harmony.

My love for smokey eyes go way way back, but it's only when Mac Teddy Eye Kohl entered my life did I finally achieved that smouldering finish. WHAT?!? An eyeliner finally made its way into my annual fave products of the year post? Who would have thought, eh? I was afraid of eyeliners up until about a year ago. I wouldn't go near the stuff because my clumsy hands simply wouldn't let me. I always looked like a 3 year old did my eye make-up whenever I attempted it. So that ship was long abandoned. But along came Teddy to the rescue. I don't know what it is, but somehow I'm no longer a failure when it comes to applying eyeliner. Okay. That's a lie. I'm still quite the failure when it comes to eyeliners, but significantly less so. Maybe it's to do with the fact that Teddy's soft creamy texture just glides easily along the lash line, depositing its rich dark brown shade with the prettiest subtle golden shimmers? Or maybe it's because even if I mess up applying it, I can just easily smudge it out and pretend it was deliberate, thus giving me that so called sexy, smouldering smokey eye? Either way, Teddy, you're the one for me.You're not perfect, mind you. My only gripe is that you don't seem to last long. You always migrate where you're not supposed to be, but for a player like you, I don't mind playing games. ;)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils made everyone go a bit gaga last year right? I mean they've been around the block for a good few years or so. But it was only last year when they truly caught the attention of everyone. As always, I was a little bit late joining the party, but hey. What can I say? It's my style. At present, I own 2 shades: Dragon Girl and Red Square, but out of the two, Dragon Girl triumphs as the queen bee. Nars describes it as a 'siren red' but on the lips, it's definitely not as red. The strong pink undertones makes it more of a cherry red. It's bright. It's beautiful. It is exactly what you need when you want glamour without the fuss. It's matte formula doesn't sacrifice on comfort. I truly enjoy it because it applies evenly with great ease. It looks matte, but doesn't wear like one. It's comfortable to wear as despite being a long wearing shade, it doesn't dry out the lips. It stays and stays.

Another red lipstick I simply couldn't get enough of in 2014 was Mac Ruby Woo. Channeling my inner Marilyn Monroe was made easy with this as my trusted ally. I won't harp on about my love for Ruby Woo as I previously dedicated an entire post to this beaut of a red lipstick.

For a more purse friendly option, the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvets is the bomb dot com. 2014 saw the releases of many lip offerings from the drugstore. From Maybelline Color Elixirs to L'Oreal Colour Riche Extraordinaire Lip Colors, the playground was filled with endless possibilities, but the Rouge Edition Velvet is where it's at. Hands down, my favorite lip product from the aisles of Boots. These bold hues got me all heart eyed emoji from the first swipe. My ultimate pick? 05 OlĂ© Flamingo  is my babe. This straight up fuchsia goodness is the one to reach for when you want all eyes on you, missus. Seriously, it's a people pleaser. Wear it and wait for the endless compliments to wash over you. Not to be outdone, Hot Pepper is another stunning shade. An orange based red that went down a hit too. If a pigmented hue, one that coats the lips with a matte opaque color in one quick sweep is what you're lusting after, look no further. Upon initial application, these leave a semi-glossy finish, but wait a few mins for them to dry and they transform to a matte finish. And that is where the magic happens. For the days when I wanted to be plain Jane, Mac Patisserie did its job. This brown- toned pinky nude just ticks all the boxes.

Ask me to write a 2000 word essay on a non-beauty subject and I'd be lost for days looking at a blank screen. But ask me to write about my favorite products? Now that, I have no problems with. See you at my book signing, eh?


An Open Letter To the Future Love of My Life

(Image credit: We Heart It)

Dear Love,

I have yet to meet you, but I'm already excited and looking forward to the day when our paths will finally cross. I've been wanting and waiting patiently to meet you for years now, and I must admit, I'm getting considerably more impatient as each day passes by, without  you by my side. I look around me and all I see is couples holding hands, whispering sweet nothings in each other's ears, their expressions revealing the deep love they feel for their significant other. The guy reaches for a strand of her hair, tucks it behind her ear, she gives a smile that reaches her eyes. I try to remain cool in those situations as I try to bury the jealousy that suddenly engulfs me.

Love is a wonderful feeling, but jealousy, however, is not. And I know that, which is why I always find myself walking away instead of letting my envy get the better of me, Because I know when it's  our turn to share our love for one another with the world, I'd hate the idea of someone else disliking me, solely for the reason that we are in love. As I walk away, some thoughts normally run through my head. 'When will it be my turn to have someone hold my hand?' 'Am I ugly?' 'Don't I deserve happiness too?' The first thought is reasonable, but the last two are not. It's silly when I think about it because I know, while I'm not the prettiest girl in the world, I'm not ugly. What do they call it? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder? Yes. That's the one. Yes, I'm not a proud owner of a face and body worthy of a magazine cover, I don't have a six inch waistline, I'm always going to be the type of girl who'll forever choose burgers over salads. I'm clumsy, I'm shy, I like to dance alone in my room late at night like a lunatic and I worry a lot, but I seriously hope that you don't mind.

If you're looking for perfection, I'm sorry, but I'm not her. Neither do I expect perfection from you. I'll take you as you are, flaws and all just as long as you will love me like I deserve to be loved. I may not be the girl every guy dreams about, nor am I the girl every girl wishes to be. But I am ME. And not to blow my own horn, but I'm special in my own way. I can't promise you perfection, but I can promise you this: I have a heart that's big enough to love and accept you unconditionally, from the moment I meet you until fate and destiny decides to tear us apart.

On the day of our first encounter, I wonder if it'll be love at first sight just like in the movies. I can't lie. I've always been quite the romantic and those Hollywood big bosses sucked me into believing in one true love and meeting Mr Right. Will our eyes meet across a crowded room? Will we instantly feel the connection, attraction and that 'spark' that the likes of Nicholas Sparks et al tries to sell to us, on a regular basis? Are we going to literally bump into each other on the street? Or maybe, just maybe I've already met you? Maybe I already saw you, but I never realised that you were the one for me. I hate the idea of this, but it's certainly a possibility, I cannot rule out. Maybe we were not acquainted with each other then, because the universe had other plans in stored for us. Maybe we were both so preoccupied with our own lives, we missed our 'moment'. Either way, if that were truly the case, I hope we'll get our rewind soon.

Once upon a time, I believed in happily ever after. I believed in Prince Charming and his white horse (well not exactly a horse, more like a Ferrari or a BMW.) I'd like to think that there's still a part of me that believes in The One, but we are living in the 21st century now. The entire arena of the dating game has changed. Gone are the days of guys wooing girls with love letters/song lyrics. At present, a simple 'hi' 'hey sexy' 'how are you? 'You're hot, let's hang out' from a latest Tinder match is where love begins (or ends...) I'm not expecting fireworks or other extravagant ways to win my heart. As I mentioned before, you don't need to look like a GQ model with Greek God Adonis-esque washboard abs and a face that's perfectly sculpted. If given the choice between a guy who can make me laugh so hard, I'm actually left crying or a guy who looks like Channing Tatum's long lost brother, I'm going to go for the former. Because looks fade, but a great sense of humor? That lasts for a lifetime. And man, that's hot.

While I wait for our paths to cross, I sometimes wonder if you stay up late at night, looking at the dark sky and wondering why our stars haven't aligned yet. Because there are nights, I find myself doing just that. There's a belief that wishes made on a shooting star come true, but as I have yet to spot that elusive shooting star, I haven't been able to prove it. 

I don't know if I'll meet this week, this month, this year, next year or even in this lifetime, but I do know that I want to wait for you and not settle for just any guy that comes along. I want to share my many first experiences with you. And only you. I want to create all those beautiful memories for us to cherish when we're both old and grey. Until then, I'm going to live my life and become a better version of me.

So Happy Valentine's Day, my future love. I hope wherever you are right now, you're thinking about me too.

With all my love,


The 2015 Manifesto: This year, I vow to......

Whoa. Where did 2014 go? I know people say it all the time, but seriously whatever happened to the past 365 days? Personally, I think the entire year went too quickly. But, that said, although I'm quite sad to wave 2014 goodbye, I'm ready to welcome and embrace 2015 with open arms. The past year taught me a lot of things and while I didn't accomplish every goal I set for myself, it was a pretty damn good year. As I leave the past year behind, I'm taking away several significant lessons. One being the importance of enjoying life. It's all too easy to get worked up about things and in pursuit of success, we tend to forget the importance of enjoying life while we are at it. I made this mistake too many times in the past.

I've always been an introvert. Always have been, always will be. I like my own company. I'm always going to prefer a quiet night in over a  night out on the tiles, But, one of my resolutions last year was to say yes more often to going out and I'm happy to report that I managed to stick to it. When I say going out, I'm not just referring to nightclubs, but impromptu lunch/dinner/other activities with friends. I'm no social butterfly (just yet) , but I'm slowly coming out of my shell and you know what? It feels so liberating. I'm no longer a slave to my shyness and awkwardness. Instead of solely being part of the quiet audience, observing the lives of those people around me, I started to participate and create my own memories. I can only hope that in 2015, my new found carefree attitude towards life stays with me. Along with creating more beautiful memories, living my life to the fullest and finally having the strength to part ways with self-doubt , here are my other goals for 2015.

This year, I vow to:

Make it simple and free my mind: Life is already one big roller coaster ride. I don't need to further complicate it with my ongoing battle with self-doubt. I already learned how to silence it this year, so here's to a year of only entertaining positive thoughts. Always.

Create my own sunshine: Happiness is around us, but of course there are days when it's a lot more difficult to find. On those days when I'm surrounded by darkness, I promise to be that ray of sunlight that brightens up the day. We all have bad days. You know those days when nothing ever seems to go right and everything is going wrong? One negative thing is blown out of proportion (as per usual) and then you find yourself facing a bad day. Typical. But this year, instead of letting a bad day get the better of me, I vow to smile. And smile often. Smiling at a complete stranger seems such an alien concept to me. I mean, what if they think I'm a lunatic? But, in pursuit of making the world a happier place to live in, I'm going to try radiate some positivity. A smile, a tiny gesture of happiness costs nothing. So why aren't we all doing it on a regular basis? It serves as an important reminder that our lives are more than an accumulation of bad days. If I have the opportunity to spread happiness then I will grab it. In fact, I shall start now :)

Be the best version of myself: During the latter part of 2014, I had my fitness groove on. I turned into a fitness addict almost overnight. I went to the gym at least 3-4 times a week, in the morning before attending my lectures. I actually woke up at at 6 am just to hit the gym (if that's not dedication, I don't know what is). I joined the UCD karate club (yes really. Even I surprised myself) and ate healthily. But that only lasted for a few weeks. *hangs my head in shame* Let's just say that when you find yourself juggling a billion and one things, my dream of becoming the next Victoria's Secret Angel became the least of my priorities. But, in 2015, I vow to resume what I have started. I bought a yoga mat and my gym clothes misses me. I have no more excuses not to get my body in shape. I loved the feeling that follows a tough workout and I miss it terribly so I think it's about time I rediscover it. Candice Swanepoel and co, you gals better watch out. You've got some serious competition. Lol.  #asif My fitness motto? Train like a beast, look like a beauty. Thanks, Cassey Ho.

Whilst getting fitter is placed at the top of my priority list, my desire to improve myself extends beyond addressing the  physical aspect. I want to improve all areas of my life. And that involves becoming a lot more kinder, appreciative, generous, patient. A better daughter, sister, friend and colleague. Ditching old terrible habits such as proscrastination for better habits such as being more organised. Seriously, leaving things to the last minute is never good for the soul.

Not worry: I worry. And I worry a lot. I've spent the majority of my 22 years on earth, worrying about everything that could go wrong. I don't exactly know why  because 95% of the time, those things I worried about? Never happened. It was all in my head. Instead of wasting all that time and energy imagining the worst case scenario, I intend to channel my energy into meeting my goal above.

Live a creative life: A couple of years ago, I used to write poems on a regular basis, but as I grew older, I lost that creative side of me. I can't draw to save my life, but I've always had a passion for writing and reading. In 2015, I vow to reignite that passion. I know 2015 is going to a busy year for me, but I want to start writing posts regularly. I have so many plans for Slave to Vanity. So many post ideas, new features I want to start and I'm even planning a makeover. Expect to see a variety of posts popping up here. Slave to Vanity started as a beauty blog and while I will continue to write about my love for lipsticks, blushes and the likes, lifestyle posts will be incorporated. As they say, variety is the spice of life.

2015 is going to be a tough year. I just know it. What with my upcoming continuous 36 week internship of clinical placement and literature review. But as the saying goes ''nobody said it would be easy. They only said it would be worth it.'' So 2015, let's do this.