Monday, 30 June 2014

One Year On: Blogging & Opportunities

I don't usually write personal post but decided I need to tell this story.....

I started my blog May last year and to say I was naive about blogging would be an understatement. I knew my husband wrote one and I read it religiously. It was actually himself that persuaded me to write one. I just needed an outlet for myself, as I had given up my job to stay at home with Lillibug, which is something that I will never regret as I get to see her flourish everyday! 

As I sat up at 5am setting up my blog and doing research into it I realised there is a whole network/community of bloggers and I had been reading them without even realising it. I thought they were online magazines or targeted websites (you see how naive I was?). I truly believed that hubby (out of politeness) would be my only reader! I wrote to keep my sanity, to have a hobby to exercise my brain, to improve my writing, and to take pictures (something I have always loved doing).

Then Twitter happened!!! I found a whole community of bloggers from Irish Beauty Bloggers, Parenting Bloggers, Lifestyle Bloggers, Fashion Bloggers and a whole lot more. They are all full of support, tips, and general fun chit chat. I have made friends through these networks and get to meet up with them on a few occasions.

Sometimes I see comments on Twitter about people doing it for the freebies or the great goodie bags that are given out. This was also a whole new concept and revelation to me (you see, there is the naiviety again). When I was invited to a company event for the very first time after blogging two months, I was totally gobsmacked and honoured. Yes I went to it and so glad I did, I met some inspirational ladies that day! We even got goodie bags, but I didn't feel like I deserved it. I had already been invited to a wonderful event, I couldn't possibly go home with a bag of goodies on top of that. I did, thanks to another blogger telling me to step forward and telling me that everyone was getting one including me. Shyness also plays a part when it comes to these things for me. I don't blog for freebies even though I won't lie, they are an added bonus but I will never expect them either!

So where am I now over a year later? I'm still blogging and I love it more each day and then the unexpected happened...I got a job!!!!!! I'm not going into too much detail yet, but this job opportunity would never of happened or come my way without setting up my blog.

For me it's the dream job. The one I dreamt of back in college! As the weeks go by my confidence is growing again (it has been two and half years since I worked). Ideas are bursting from my head and anything feels acheivable, the sky is NOT the limit. The best part is I'm still able to be at home with Lillibug, watching her grow, laugh, smile and throw the occasional tantrum.

So remember, you never know what opportunities big or small come your way, or who may be watching. Just love what you are doing, and appreciate and respect others around you!!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Benefit at Sam McCauley Chemists + Preview of Benefit's "They're Real" Push-up Liner

I was recently invited to get a preview of the new Benefit They're Real push-up liner and They're Real cleanser at the Benefit counter in Sam McCauley Chemist Redmond Square! I can't lie I'm a regular at Sam McCauley's. I could nearly work there as I know where everything is at this stage and the majority of my makeup hauls come from there too. I have always stuck with Sam McCauley Chemists over the years especially after I bought my first hair mascara there when I was 12!!!

First up I got a treat of a make-upper with Benebabe Dawn, someone I have over the years recommended friends and family to go to for their makeup. I've personally had my makeup done by Dawn two or three times now and love her creativity and how she listens to your likes and dislikes. Her bubbly disposition definitely would bring you back time and time again. When I get my makeup done professionally I always ask for the same look but this time I just asked Dawn to work her magic, and that she did. She deserves a medal for working her magic on me!

Dawn went through every step with me from skincare to powder. Keep reading to see those steps......

1. Skincare:  

 I have always loved the skincare range from Benefit, but the Dream Screen was a new one to me. I did love it and the bonus for me was it didn't feel heavy or tacky and not a whiff of your usual suncream. My favourites out of the skincare range are Foamingly Clean Facial Wash and Total Moisture Facial Cream.

2. Base

The Porefessional is an old favourite of mine and always have one on the dressing table as well as a travel size one for the bag. I recently got Hello Flawless Oxygen WOW and find that it really suits my dry skin. Boi-ing was a new one for me and not really bowled over by it. Hello Flawless Powder Cover Up was also new to me and found that it clinged to my dry patches on my forehead, but I want to try it again as I think that could be down to the fact I haven't exfoliated in (cough cough) 2 weeks!

3. Eyes

I learned a new trick...Use Hoola on your eyes!! I asked Dawn if she could use Hoola on me as I had never used it before, but I was surprised when she used it in my crease and outer V, and it looked amazing. This is on the shopping list for Saturday. The Stay Don't Stray Primer definitely kept my eye makeup on all day. Gimme Brow bowled me over. I never really touch my eyebrows but this cleaned them up in a flash and looked fantastic so this is also on the shopping list. They're Real is my all time favourite mascara which I reviewed last year. Eye Bright looked great but didn't wow me even if it did open up my eyes. Then the piece de resistance...They're Real push-up eyeliner, I haven't felt this excited about a product for a very long time, I can't wait to experiment with this and create some different eye looks.

4. Lips & Cheeks

I'm a bit obsessed by cheek products, and I did post a picture of my collection on instagram a few weeks ago! I have highbeam in one of my Benefit Kits and love it I use it a lot and would repurchase. Hoola was new to me but loved how it buildable and it didn't go orange on my pale skin, and it got bonus points for doubling up as contour for the eyes! Hervana was stunning and very natural on my skin and lasted all day, depending on the way the light would catch you could see peach, highlight, rose and a purple tone, so loved it. Cha Cha tint was a surprise to me, it's not a colour I would veer towards but I loved it and gave a really fresh look. It was used on my lips and as the tints are very drying the cha cha balm was used on top for extra moisture. I do think that the balms are overpriced but if you use the tints a lot on your lips it might be worth your while investing, but for me it's a pass.

Now for the exciting news!!!! I got to try out the new Benefit They're Real Push-up Eyeliner (€25). On first impressions, I'm in love. Applying eyeliner is not my friend and I can't do a cat flick to save my life, never have and I was going to say never will but now I know I can. Beautiful matte black that was so easy to apply with it's silicone tip and angle I could now call myself a pro (okay maybe taking that a tad to far). I did find it unusual to hold and and it feels so light on the eyelashes that it feels like you aren't drawing on them. The thing I like most is that I can achieve a thin line and it pushes the lashes down to give a real close application! Full review will be up soon on the blog so keep an eye out for that.

I also got the opportunity to see They're Real Remover (19.50)! I have always had problem with getting They're Real Mascara off and the new eyeliner is no different so thank goodness Benefit have listened to us and gave us the remover! Dawn showed me this on the back of her hand and instantly you could see it breaking up the eyeliner she drew! When I came home I had a great deal of trouble getting it all off and the only cleanser that I had that was up for the job was my new Holos Love Your Skin Cleansing Cream

Call into the Benebabes in Redmond Square, Fairgreen or Showgrounds stores and have a FREE mini eye make-upper using the AMAZING They're Real Push Up Liner and Mascara - take a selfie, post it here on Facebook and you'll be in with a chance to win!! Just use the hashtag #reallinerlooksire and let us know which store you had your make-upper in because there'll be a winner in EACH of the three stores with a chance of winning a hamper!

Also this Saturday the 28th of June Sam McCauley Chemist Redmond Square are having a circus theme event to celebrate the launch of They're Real Push-up Eyeliner at 12pm. With special offers, popcorn and a whole lot more it sounds like a good time and I for one will be there enjoying it all.

So I hope you enjoyed this post and my thoughts on the make-upper and the products used. Just a little disclaimer, even though I was invited to have this experience I was not influenced in any way and all opinions are my own. If you have read my blog for a long time you may know that Benefit is one of my favourite makeup brands, it is the brand that gave me my love of makeup even if I do have my ups and downs with them!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Visit Wexford with Carlow Tours

With the amazing weather we have been having of late it had got me thinking about all the amazing places myself and the family love to visit. We love finding new and exciting places to go and show Lillibug the amazing heritage that we have right here in Ireland. We love getting in the car and seeing where we will end up but sometimes it is great just to stay at home. Wexford is steeped in history and with so much to show you all we thought we would whittle it down to our top 3 places to visit if you are ever here.

Pic Credit: Carlow Tours

I got the idea from Bianka, the brains behind Carlow Tours. She is a friend of ours for years now and someone I know who has the same passion for Irish Tourism as I have. Her knowledge, passion and love of Ireland exudes from her every pore and with more as Gaeilge in her vocabulary than I have (Yes, I hang my head shame but that's another story). Bianka is Irish through and through, yet she emigrated in 2000 and hasn't regretted it since! I am so delighted that Bianka has set up Carlow Tours as I know she would make the perfect guide as she would make it the most special day with plenty of laughs to be had. Carlow Tours offer sight seeing trips, guided tours, programs and custom designed trips so there is something for everyone. They are based in Carlow town.

So without further a do check out our top 3 places in Wexford to visit:

1. The Irish National Heritage Park:

This is without a doubt the one we visit on a regular basis. I also did a review last year on one of our jaunts. When I moved to Wexford back in the day, this was the first place my Daddy brought me and it was also the first place I brought Lillibug. The Park stretches over 35 acres of woodland, wetland, estuary and uplands, and has 16 archaeological and historical reconstructions all located in their natural settings.  You will see everything from prehistoric Ireland to The Age of Invasion. It makes for a great day out for the family and has excellent food in their restaurant. You shouldn't miss a visit for anything else.

2. Wells House and Gardens:

With a history dating back to the 1600's, and the house as it stands now dating back to the 1830's, Wells House is a very well kept secret. I met a couple there the other day who have been visiting Wexford for the last ten years that had never heard about it until a week before their visit. The house is currently owned by the Rosler Family, who operates it as a working farm. Along with this, there have been many tourist friendly additions added such as a restaurant/tea rooms, a kids playground and an archery range. The house also hit local headlines just this week when it won the "Wexford Rural Tourism Award" at this years Wexford Business Awards.

3. Enniscorthy Castle:

Overlooking the town of Enniscorthy, this castle dates back to the 1300's and has a rich and tumultuous history which is far too deep to go into here! It didn't become a tourist attraction in the traditional sense until 1962 when it opened as the Wexford County Museum until 2006 when it was closed for renovations. It reopened in 2011 in it's current form. It has changed it's focus from a county museum to using it's artifacts to demonstrate how both the castle and the town itself have evolved over the centuries. 

So, if you're living in the locality of Wexford and haven't visited these places yet, I hope I gave you some inspiration. If you're from outside the county, and want to have someone else do the driving for you, you should give Carlow Tours a shout. 

What's your favourite place in your local area to visit? Comment below, or contact me through the usual outlets! 

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Wishlist Summer 2014

Wow, I haven't done a wishlist since November! This is a long time for me as they used to be regular thing right here on the blog. I think I got to the stage of lusting after things and not being able to get them became annoying but, oh my, I have really been wishing for these 5 products. 

1. Trilogy Mineral Radiance Mask €23.95
I'm a sucker for a face mask on a Friday night and I only started this regime of facemasks back in March but it's definitely one I will be sticking to. This promises to give radiant youthful skin, and hydrate. Yep my skin is hungry for it!

2. Dolce by Dolce & Gabbana (30ml)  €61.00
I love perfume and each one I have tells a story. I recently got a whiff of this particular one last week at a counter and ever since I can't stop thinking of how amazing it smelled. Fresh and gentle with a light floral scent is about as detailed as I can go. I'm useless at describing perfumes but if you can, go check it out.

3. FujiFilm Instax Mini 8 €99.99
Remember Polaroid? I do! (Kinda). Fuji have gone retro with this Instax Mini 8 and I'm loving the baby blue one! I would have so much fun taking pictures of Lillibug with this and making a wall for them in the bedroom. You can also get borders on the film strips online which is even more fun!

4. Benefit Hoola Bronzer €34.00
I have really being trying to master the whole contouring thing and sometimes I get it spot on and, well, other times I get very very wrong. I do currently have one bronzer that I absolutely love and make it work, but I've hit pan and would like to try something new. I've heard great things about the Hoola Bronzer from Benefit and I have a friend who used it, and I think it looks amazing on her so I really need to get a wriggle on with this one.

5. Too Faced Chocolate Bar €63.00
I love eyeshadow Palettes but I won't pay €63 for one, especially when it's $49 dollars on the Sephora website, so quick email to brother in America who is coming home soon = Chocolate Bar for me (I hope, because if he forgets he shouldn't come back haha). First thing I will do is sniff it as it supposedly has a chocolate smell to it, then I will tuck into the 16 matte & shimmer shades.

Grand total of €281.94!!!

What's on your wishlist? Let me know in the usual way :-)

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Summer Nails with Rimmel London 60 Seconds Nail Polish

I am absolutely loving all this sunshine we've been having the last few days and with temperatures soaring I've been dipping into the nail polishes. So I have picked my top three colours from Rimmel 60 Seconds range to share with you.

Picture of 3 bottles of Rimmel Nail Varnish

Firstly let's get down to the nitty gritty!

Rimmel claim that this polish dries in 60 seconds. Um, for me it doesn't. They also claim that you only need one coat. Seriously? That also didn't ring true in my case. For a dash of colour I'm wanting and a flawless finish I need 2-3 coats and it takes an age for them to dry (slight exaggeration, but it does take longer than 60 seconds). I do however really like the XpressTM brush which applies each coat beautifully. The biggest winner is the range of colours and how they just pop, so will give a 5 out of 5 for that. They look great on my nails including my toesies (but I'm not sharing pictures of my toes, you could all do without that).

Rimmel Nail Polish in Too Cool To Tango
Rimmel London 60 Seconds: Too Cool To Tango

Apologies about my nails they are currently going through a bad time and I'm still looking for something to strengthen them up, so if you have any suggestions please tell me!

"Too Cool To Tango" reminds me of the sea when on holidays and I've been wearing that one the most out of the three. It definitely verges on the green spectrum.

Fingernails painted in Lose Your Lingerie from Rimmel
Rita Ora: Lose Your Lingerie

"Rita Ora: Lose Your Lingerie", is very different for me but with the slight bit of pink it reminds me of pink marshmallows!

Bottle of polish in the shade Lose your Lingerie
Rita Ora: Lose Your Lingerie

Nails painted with Mind The Gap, Victoria
Rimmel London 60 Seconds Mind The Gap, Victoria

"Mind The Gap, Victoria", gives the most vivid of colour of them all and as it reminds me of the sky I think I might try and draw white clouds on my nails when using this particular colour!

So tell me what you think, or have you got some recommendations for me?

Price: €5.29

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Mini Haul: Makeup & Statement Necklace

I was in Debenhams last week when I rang my mammy to see if there was anything she would like me to pick up for her (we don't have one near us). Funny thing is, she gave me a list of things she thought I should get for myself!

The first thing that I was ordered to get was the New Urban Decay Flushed palette in Streak (€29) which luckily hit the shelf a week earlier than expected. You get a pale matte bronzer, a shimmery golden highlighter and a coral blush. Expect a review soon but so far I am really enjoying playing with this palette.

Next on the list is Benefit's Hello Flawless Oxygen WOW foundation (€36.00). I had been recently using a tester of this and every time I wore it I kept getting compliments so it was time to get the full size! I have very dry skin and I find this works well with my skin and does not stick to the dry patches.

I finished off in Debenhams with the Urban Decay Triple Threat Travel Pencil Set (€14). I love their eyeliners and especially like having the travel size as they fit into my Glinda Palette so I can always have one in my travel arsenal now! They are all matte and waterproof.

I stopped into Penneys then and couldn't resist this statement necklace with turquoise stones! Only €5 so where could I go wrong?

Have you tried any of these products? If you have any tips or tricks on using them let me know in the comments section below. Also I will have reviews on these products in the coming weeks so keep your eyes peeled!

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