Thursday, April 21, 2011

I'm Back!

Get ready for a bumper post...

Firstly I better apologise for my long absence from the blogging world...I have just been so busy hopping around the place that I haven't been able to even check my emails.  Myself and the hubby were on a jaunt back to Ireland to catch up with family.

Before we went, something amazing happened...Chris came shopping with me! Now, this never EVER happens so I felt rather privileged on that momentous day!  He had a few things he wanted to get and wanted my opinion you see, so in return he felt obligated to trundle into some of my usual shopping haunts. 

I managed to find what I was looking for in Zara.  This shop is fast becoming my favourite on the high street, with Reiss being a close second.  I really wanted to get a great pair of skinny jeans with a bit of stretch in them to stop that oh-so-attractive saggy knee look.  I found the perfect pair in Zara for only £25.99! I know where I'll be going for my jeans from now on!  I already have my eye on a black pair and also a really dark denim pair.

I have also been looking for a flowy cream or white blouse for Spring/Summer to wear with shorts, jeans and skirts.  This one in Zara really stood out for me because it has the perfect mix of being smart but casual, lightweight fabric and lovely pocket and sleeve details.  It looks particularly good with skinny jeans, high heels and a blazer.

I did partake in some more shopping whilst in Ireland and a trip to Dunnes Stores resulted in a couple of amazing fashion finds.  I found these skinny utility/combat style jeans with pocket detail for only 7 Euros in the sale! I didn't have high hopes for them when I slung them over my arm on the way to the fitting room, but low and behold, they ended up being the best bargain I've come across all year.  They fit to perfection, they don't lose their shape after a couple of wears and they would definitely rival the more expensive versions on the high street.  I got the exact same pair in a khaki shade.  Well, they were so cheap, it would have been plain rude to only buy one pair!

A Wear turned out to be a little disappointing and I didn't find that many things there that appealed to me.  You often find that all high street stores fall in and out of your favour but I guess it's lucky in a way because I wasn't up for spending a fortune.  I just got this lovely cream, beaded top in the sale.  I thought it would look great to dress up jeans or even shorts in the summer.  It was only 20 Euros and feels 'expensive' heavy if that makes any sense?!

I always like to have a look in a small boutique store called Fran & Jane when I'm in Cork.  They always have unique dresses and accessories and because they only stock a certain amount of each item, it reduces the chances of anyone you know having the same thing.  For all Fran & Jane boutique locations, click here.  Their website also has an online store where some of their stock is available to purchase.

I found this amazing black leather clutch covered in studs for 69 Euros.  Although a little more pricey, leather is always worth investing in.  I also like that the bag is a medium size so it's roomy whilst still being a convenient size to hold.  It also has a detachable silver chain hidden inside if you want to make it into a shoulder bag.  I'm obsessed with anything that's studded so this is now my new favourite bag!

Over time, I have definitely developed a love for Jemma Kidd Make Up School products.  I love their Iridescent Eye Silk Crayon in Tigers Eye, their Hi-Shine Silk Touch lipgloss in Petal and their Skin Rescue Bio-Complex Veil.

When it comes to chucking makeup in my travel bag, I'm a big believer in trying to use multi-purpose compacts that take up less room but still contain lots of products that are useable.  That's why this Essentials palette from Jemma Kidd Makeup School is perfect for anyone who travels alot or simply to take on holiday for a no-fuss look. 

Here's the blurb:
"The ultimate palette with a mix of products and shades for any look: day to night, week to weekend and across the seasons.  Ultra werable and versatile neutral, taupe, chocolate brown and charcoal shadows teamed with a fresh flush of colour for the lips and cheeks.  This kit features a complementary mix of matte and pearl highlight, mid and define shadows, wet/dry shadow liner, lightweight lip & cheek flush and non-sticky lipgloss".

Often you get palettes where only some of the shades are wearable for both day and night but every single eyeshadow in this palette is not only wearable, but would suit many different skintones.  The Pomegranate cheek flush shade is just gorgeous and so pretty for a spring/summer dewy look to the skin.  It's very lightweight and blends easily with no greasy or oily finish.  The peachy pink shade really breathes life into your skin!  It also look so pretty as a lip shade.  I was a bit scared by the Tea Rose Lipgloss shade but as you will see in the swatches below, it goes on quite sheer and just adds the right amount of colour to look polished but natural...

I have numbered all the products in the palette just in case you are interested in buying them separately:
1) Pomegranate Cheek & Lip Flush
2) Tea Rose Hi-Shine Silk Touch Lipgloss
3) Grey Eye Wardrobe Eyeshadow Quartet (White)
4) Eye Essentials Shimmer Shadow (Mocha)
5) Brown Eye Wardrobe Eyeshadow Quartet (Taupe)
6) Green Eye Wardrobe Eyeshadow Quartet (Cream)
7) Brown Eye Wardrobe Quartet (Dark Brown)
8) Exclusive Wet/Dry Shadow Liner (Charcoal)

The shimmer AND matte eyeshadows have great pigmentation and to be honest it's unusual to find matte shadows that apply and blend so well.  Generally they can be a pain to work with but these make things so easy.  I love that you get both a matte and shimmer highlight for the browbone as a lot of people prefer to keep things matte in their daytime makeup.

You even get a small guide with the palette for anyone just starting out with makeup.  I think a lot of makeup brands assume that their customers are all well-weathered makeup fans but everyone has to start somewhere and this little guide could prove very handy for someone who has little or no makeup application experience.

I generally become slightly obsessed with peach and coral blush shades in the summer because for my skintone, it's the most flattering hue when I begin to get a tan (albeit mostly fake!).  Many of the peach and coral blushes I have contain shimmer which is generally fine but because I like to use my Dior highlighting powder, a shimmery blush can cause a little too much reflection on the cheeks.   This is where Nars Gilda blush comes in...

Nars Gilda is a matte, sheer coral shade that is lightweight and blends into my skin seamlessly.  More often than not, matte blush can sit on top of your makeup and look powdery or heavy, but this shade just adds a gorgeous flush of summery colour without being overbearing.  I hate blush that makes me look too flushed or like a russian doll.  I have a few other Nars blushes including Deep Throat, Orgasm, Madly and Nico.  I used to favour Deep Throat out of all of those but now I actually prefer Gilda for the perfect daytime, natural flush of healthy colour.  These blush product are not cheap at £20.50 a pop but they really do last for a very long time.

Nars eyeshadows have never had the best track record for me to be honest.  I always have to get them online because unfortunately we don't have a Nars counter here in Aberdeen.  Therefore, you are always buying blind and have to rely on reviews.  Quite a few of the shades I have owned have been gritty, hard to blend and the pigmentation has been disappointing.

When I saw the Silent Night eyeshadow (metallic with gold particles)...I thought "hubba, hubba! come to mama!".  BUT, once again I have been disappointed by the poor pigmentation and uneven texture.  You can see from my swatch above that the colour is very sheer and didn't live up to my expecatation of an intense yellow gold hue with immense reflective properties.  Oh win some and you lose some! 

There have been a couple of hair products that I thought were worth a mention since they have made a big difference to my hair or every day hair care routine.  First up is the Pantene Colour Protect Instant Nourishing Shine Spray.  I picked this up after reading Marie Claire in which they voted it a top drugstore product.  I'm always up for anything that will nourish my locks and impart shine.  I just spray this product all over my hair whilst damp and then blowdry.  It makes my hair silky soft, smooth and super shiny without weighing it down or making it flyaway/static.  I also love the scent that lingers in my hair all day!  It just makes my hair look and feel much more healthy and it's mega affordable and easy to get hold of.

I bought the John Frieda Go Blonder Controlled Lightening Spray because I won't be able to go to the hairdresser until after next week and I wanted something that would blend my roots.  I had seen a vid TiffanyD Makeup on YouTube recommending it for blondes who want to lighten and hide their roots.  This sounded AMAZING to me so I had to check it out for myself.

"Versatile, patent-pending formula with citrus and chamomile works with styling heat to gradually lighten and brighten for a natural-looking, blonder blonde. Contains thermo-protectant. Patent-pending technology combines fixative and conditioning polymers that retain hydrogen peroxide, allowing for control of lightening. Visibly lightens in 3-5 uses".

You can either use this product to lighten all of your hair OR just your roots.  I just section off my hair whilst damp, spray it carefully on the roots and then blowdry to activate the ingredients.  Within about 4 uses, my roots were so much less noticeable and blended into the rest of my hair.  I will keep using it every second day to further lighten my roots and keep them looking good until i can get to my hairdresser.  I think this is an amazing product and it's so nice to have finally found a product that gently lightens my hair without causing any damage or adverse reactions.  Because this product contains hydrogen peroxide though, you have to be careful you don't spray it onto your clothes or other fabrics (say furniture) because it will lighten it too!  Alo, it's important to wash your hands after using it otherwise, you may lighten the skin on your hands over time.  It's basically a product that has to be used sensibly and with care.  The instructions stipulate that it is not intended for use on hair that is medium brown or darker.  As long as you are comfortable with that, then you can drive on and enjoy a root-free life!

And the biggest musical shock of last week? Charlie Simpson (formerly of the guitar boy-band Busted) has launched a solo career with a song that I actually blimmin like! Who woulda thought it!?

It's a big departure from his Busted days (or even Fightstar days) but I'm liking his new chilled-out style.  What do you think?

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