Saturday, September 28, 2013

#SBBC - Reflection and Goodbye! (And an Excuse for Buffy Gifs)

Hi!

Right, I hate to do this so close to the end of the #SBBC, but I really can not think of anything for the last few topics and I don't have any alternatives ready. My mind has completely wandered and I'm just not able to concentrate on any more posts at the moment.


Firstly, reflection on #SBBC - I think Girl Friday did an amazing job with the topics, I've loved reading all the posts, and I've loved either posting every day or scheduling and checking in every day. I've loved seeing new products, interesting opinions, and some fabulous photographs. I've found some great blogs and some lovely bloggers, and I've gained a new found respect for bloggers who post good content every day - I have no idea where you all get the time, you're amazing!


Secondly - I'm booked in to have my babies on Tuesday, so it's the end of blogging for a little while. I do have one or two things in the pipeline coming up to Halloween, but for the most part, I definitely won't be here during October.


But I WILL be back, and I'll check in on twitter (@shannairl) too.

Cross your fingers for me!




Friday, September 27, 2013

#SBBC Day 27 - Songs I Love

Hi!

I haven't done a music post in ages, I used to pick one song every Saturday evening to blog about but I kept forgetting to do it - if you're in any way interested in that, you can click on the music tab to see all my previous SNS (Saturday Night Song) posts.

I read a really good music post recently by Paula - I ended up listening to most of the 15 songs in full, so I definitely can't pick just one song for this post. I've whittled it down to the 10 songs I always put on a new phone or mp3 player first, the ones I feel a bit lost without. I love loads of different types of music from rock to cheesy pop to dance to country, but these 10 are my all-time favourites.

In no particular order (except #1 really is my all-time favourite song ever), here are my Top Ten All-Time Favourite Songs.

10: Foo Fighters - Best of You


I maintain that the line I needed somwhere to hang my head without your noose is one of the best in modern music. This was my ringtone for about 3 years, useless fact fans.

9: Whitesnake - Is This Love?


Whitesnake have been a favourite of mine for years - I did have a strange crush on David Coverdale for a while, totally don't see that now, but this is still an amazing song. And who doesn't love an oul cartwheel?

8: Bruce Springsteen - The River


I love songs that tell stories, and this is probably my favourite 'story' type song. For a long time it was Hazard by Richard Marx, but The Boss took over a long time ago.

7: The Cure - Lovesong


This was written by Robert Smith as a present to his then-fiancée. Or so says Wikipedia. It could be an ode to cake for all I care, I just love the song.

6: Guns n Roses - November Rain



Sigh - where do I start with this one? Guns n Roses have been one of my favourite bands forever - Sweet Child O' Mine will always be my go-to karaoke song. But it's this tune that blows me away every time I hear it. I wanted that wedding dress so badly! I can watch this video repeatedly and not get sick of it - especially Slash's solo. I haven't much time for Axl Rose, but Slash...... sigh. What a man.

5. The Waterboys - Fisherman's Blues



This is one of those tunes that makes me want to lie down, close my eyes, and time travel back to the early 90's. It was a huge tune on the jukebox in our local pub, and it reminds me of the days of the big bottle of red lemonade, tayto crisps, pink snack bars, and the smell of pool chalk and beermats. I know that doesn't sound remotely attractive, and it's not as if we spent every waking minute in the pub as kids (we didn't), but this is just one of those instant time travel songs. Adore it.

4: Chris Isaak - Wicked Game


One of the most seductive sexy songs out there, in my humble opinion. Gemma Hayes does a fantastic version of it that was featured on Pretty Little Liars - check that out here if you haven't heard it, it's gorgeous. For me, the original is definitely the best.

3: Metallica - Turn The Page



My favourite track from one of my favourite Metallica albums (Garage Inc.), this was originally written by Bob Seger. It's very rare that I'll prefer a cover version to an original, but in this case, I think James Hetfield gives it a dark edge that the original was crying out for. It's another one of those 'story' songs and it's one of my top 3 for sure.

2: The Coronas - Heroes or Ghosts (as Gaeilge)


One of my favourite songs - despite Irish being beat into me from the age of 4, I'm still not fluent in it, and I'd have no clue what he was on about here if I wasn't familiar with the English version - but I think it's a gorgeous song, a gorgeous version, and Danny O'Reilly isn't exactly a beast to look at, is he? Please give this a listen - especially if you're reading from overseas. See what you think of the Irish language in contemporary music!

1: Don Henley - Boys of Summer


Don Henley - Boys Of Summer by jpdc11

This video is impossible to find on youtube - cheers to the user linked above for posting it on Dailymotion. This has been my favourite song for years, and I can't see it going anywhere anytime soon. It's just so evocative of the time - early 90s, summer, sunshine, longing, loss, youth - hits me like a ten ton truck every time it comes on the radio unexpectedly.

We shall not speak of the DJ Sammy cover. Ever.



Thursday, September 26, 2013

#SBBC Day 26 - Essence Sparkle Sand Effect Polishes

Hi!

I couldn't think of anything that fit in with either #SBBC topic today, so instead, I have swatches of the new Essence Sparkle Sand Effect polishes.


These are a very recent addition to the Essence stands - priced, thankfully, the same as all the other colour & go polishes at a very reasonable €1.79. I had to do a little digging around my stand to find all 3 shades, but I'm sure they'll be restocked soon.

First up, the one I was most drawn to - the dark grey one, called Here's My Number.


Yes, Carly Rae Jepsen is in my head now too. Anyway, this is three coats - the drying time wasn't very impressive on this one, it took a good five minutes between layers to dry or it smudged on top of itself. The texture is very fine sand/glitter, not as rough as the O.P.I liquid sand ones. Here it is without topcoat:


And with a layer of Poshé:


The topcoat definitely brings the sparkle out a little more, but altogether this wasn't as spectacular on the nail as I'd hoped.

On to the next one, Me & My Lover.


I'm not a lover of red, but this one surprised me. It went on quite pink, but built up to a lovely tomato red in just two coats. Again it took a while to dry, and the sparkle wasn't immediately noticeable on the nail, but it's actually a nice polish.

Without topcoat:


With a coat of Poshé:


I really like this with topcoat, it really brings the gold sparkle to life and it looks almost jelly-like.

Finally, saving the best for last - Hey, Nude.


For this one, I used three coats and no colour underneath. I was sure that no matter how much I built this up, I'd get visible nail line - but that's not the case. There's a very faint VNL but it wasn't enough to put me off - I adore this polish. It's textured, sparkly, (unfortunately also took its sweet time to dry) and very eye catching. I think it'd make an amazing Bridal polish.

Without topcoat:


With a coat of Poshé:


It's a really subtle, beautiful polish and I don't own anything like it already. As I mentioned, each of these polishes costs just €1.79, and hopefully this is something that Essence will continue to include with their colour & go updates.



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

#SBBC Day 25 - Icons and Idols

Hi!

I talked yesterday about how much I love New Look, and I think everyone knows I'm a firm fan of eBay at this stage - so I won't bore you with all that again today. Instead, I went for the icons/idols topic. I don't have any personal icons or idols, but I do have people that I like a lot for various reasons. Here are the top three people I really, really admire.

Dame Helen Mirren

I have such a soft spot for Helen Mirren. She's got an amazing sense of humour, she's not false or fake, and she does what she wants. She's also an amazingly talented actress. Who else can pull off pink hair at the age of 68? She has balls and strength and she just seems like she hasn't let any of the Hollywood crap go to her head.


Tim Burton


To have ideas is one thing, but to turn those ideas into an entire twisted, dark (yet in another way a very real), world is just unbelievable. Is there anyone who hasn't felt an affinity with a Tim Burton character at one point or another? He turns the most basic ideas into fantastic fairytales and adventures. Edward Scissorhands will always be my favourite Tim Burton creation, mainly because it has a very, very basic premise - what do you do when you're a little bit different to everyone else? I admire him so much for not conforming to standards, for doing what he believes in, and for bringing his magical ideas to life.

Joss Whedon


I admire Joss Whedon for much the same reasons as I admire Tim Burton - he has created an entire universe from his imagination. His creativity is just astounding, and neverending. I will always, always be thankful to him for Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It meant (and still means) an awful lot to me as a teenager, the very basic 'High School is Hell' premise spoke deeply to so many of us. He also gave us someone to look up to - a female who was strong, independent, but still human with difficult decisions to make. He showed us we could stand up for what we believed in, that we could be powerful and brave. I realize I'm completely fangirling here, but I don't even care. He's an absolute genius and one of the most creative and imaginative people of our time. 



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

#SBBC Day 24 - Brand Highlight - An Ode to New Look

Hi!

I was trying to think of a beauty brand that I love, but I couldn't really pick one - I like Catrice and Essence because they're always changing and growing, so it's pretty easy to pick up affordable new trend-led products to try. Ultimately I chose New Look - I used to be a Penneys devotee but I've gone off the shop a little bit, I still like it for accessories, scarves, bags and shoes, but not so much for clothes. New Look is my go-to shop for all occasions, so I thought I'd share some of my favourite bits from them, past & present.

I got this dress there last year and I wore it out the night out after our wedding - I find the sizes brilliant, I'd gotten this in a 16 at the time and it fit like a glove. It was really, really comfortable, and I can't wait until I'm able to get back into it again and pair it with some chunky tights for the winter.


One of my favourite things to do coming up to Christmas (yeah I said it) is to go to New Look and stock up on basics - jeans, tops, jumpers. I got a long jumper there last year (black, covered in crosses) and it was so cosy, i'm looking forward to wearing it again this year.

Their maternity wear is fantastic - if you completely overlook the horrible slogan tees, you can get some really good basics that will last you the length of your pregnancy. I've put together a collage of some of the stuff I recommend - I placed an order online at the start of summer and got all I needed for my entire pregnancy for under €100. Amazing value for maternity wear, and everything washes really well. All images are from www.newlook.com.

Overbump Jeans - €19.99/Blue Top €9.99/Grey Top €11.99 (€15 for both)/Striped Top €17.99
3-Pack of Belly Bands €12.99/ Wrap Dress €17.99/3-Pack Basic Tops €17.99

Their Accessories department is fantastic, I've picked up many a necklace, scarf, or bag on a whim (and also when I've been in dire need of something at short notice). They also have regular BOGOF or multibuy offers. Here's my pick of current accessories (all images from www.newlook.com) :

Socks - €2.50 each or €5 for 3 pairs/Scarf €9.99/Bowler Bag €24.99
Necklace €7.99/Shoe Boots €39.99/Earrings €7.99/Biker Boots €85.99

Their socks are such a little treat, I got a few pairs during the summer - they're brilliant value at €5 for three pairs, and they come in fantastic designs, I NEED those pumpkin ones, stat!

Finally, here's my clothes wishlist for 2013. Again, images are from www.newlook.com.

Tartan Skirt €17.99/Teal Wrap Top €22.99/Belted Trench €29.99
Burgundy Wrap Dress €29.99/Blue Lace Boyfriend Cardi €17.99/Bird Print Blouse €22.99
I really enjoyed doing this post - the thrill of filling an online cart with stuff then hitting X will never wear off.

Monday, September 23, 2013

#SBBC Day 23 - Catrice Mermaid My Day & Nail Studs from KKCenterHK

The glitters in this post were provided for review. Opinions are 100% mine.

Hi!

Nails weren't on the list for the #SBBC today, but I wanted to show you this Catrice polish and also the circle glitters I received for review from KKCentreHK.com. I got to choose two products for review - I chose these amazing circle glitters (you can find them here) and some great Halloween decals that I'll show you closer to Halloween (in case you want to get some sooner, they're here).

Blue/Green Circle Glitter, click to view on site
There are hundreds upon hundreds of glitters in the pot, and they change colour depending on what angle you're viewing them from. They were really easy to apply and I had no problems with them at all. They seem to be really good quality, and they're a good product to have in your nail arsenal.

On to the polish:




This is Mermaid My Day - it's a teal polish with an almost frosted finish, not unlike GOSH Ocean. If you were a fan of Chanel's nail polish offerings this year, this is definitely in the same family as Bel Argus and Azure (and about 1/7th the price). I actually don't like the finish of this at all - I bought it purely because I'd seen it matted on Love, Varnish, Chocolate here. I also matted mine using a Rimmel matte topcoat and then used the circle glitters on my ring finger.




I love the matte effect with this polish - it looks like it has a suede finish. The glitters stayed on for over a day with no topcoat, which is pretty good for glitters of that size. I didn't use a topcoat because I didn't want it to affect the polish.

Warning: This polish stains, so use a reliable base coat.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

#SBBC Day 22 - Perfume and Life Quotes!

Hi!

I want to do both of these topics today, so firstly I want to direct you to my all-time favourite perfume post, which is here - please do let me know if you've owned any of my 'special' scents at any point during your life!


Lately, I've been obsessed with something I featured in my Autumn/Winter wishlist - Katy Perry's new fragrance, Killer Queen.

I've never bothered with any previous Katy Perry fragrances, I thought the kitten bottles were aimed at teens. This is glorious - a rich, red and gold bottle that looks like the head of a sceptre. Ingenious! I also love how Katy looks in the campaign - I know that's a wig, and she's probably airbrushed, but it's just a stunning looking ad. I saw a display in the window of my local chemist a few weeks ago, and went in for a sniff.

On first sniff, I get berries. Raspberries, Blackberries, Strawberries, Plums - not dissimilar to Beyoncé's original Heat fragrance. It faded into a woodier, more mature scent after a little while. I can definitely get praline and bergamot too. Maybe a hint of Jasmine? It's not as sickly sweet as the Britney perfumes, but not as overpowering as Flowerbomb. It didn't last very long on my skin at all - which is why I didn't buy it that day. The drydown was lovely though, not overly powdery. The next time I went in to the chemist, I decided to just buy it - we'd gotten an unexpected present, husband treated himself to some engine oil and a mirror for the tractor (that's what constitutes a male treat in our house), so I decided to put the usual Mammy Guilt to one side and picked up a 50ml bottle of the perfume with free body lotion. It set me back just under €35.


I was a little afraid that this would be one of those perfumes that has a massive box but a tiny little bottle - I wasn't disappointed when I opened it up.


The only thing I'd have liked was some kind of little stand or cap to stand it up on, but it's not a major issue.

I usually throw out the body lotions from sets - I never use them. I've used this one a lot, it helps make the fragrance last a little longer on me when I layer it. It's my new favourite scarf perfume (anyone else just drown a scarf in a perfume they love?) and it's a definite winner for Autumn/Winter.

I'll leave you with my favourite quote from one of my favourite plays:

[Source: veraukoion.deviantart.com]

Good old Polonius. He had a few decent quotes for a nosy old eejit.



Saturday, September 21, 2013

#SBBC Day 21 - Blogging Advice

Hi!

I wasn't going to do this topic, but I had a few things I wanted to say so I decided I'd say them now while I have the opportunity! Feel free to call me every name under the sun, I don't mind.

Firstly - those "ten things every blogger should know" type posts drive me bananas. By all means if someone asks a specific question, answer them and help if you can, but don't go dictating about templates, colours, backgrounds, layouts - I hate that crap. A 16 year old once told me my layout wasn't really that of a typical beauty blog (complete with a 'hun' and a smiley face) - do I give a shite! So many blogs look the same now, just remember it's YOUR space, you do what you like, not what you think is the norm. I've also seen people say things like "people don't like wordy posts, just have really big pictures and keep the writing to a minimum" - instagram and tumblr are already there for that. If I want to ramble on for half a page, I'll do that. If you're not interested, there's a wee X up there at the corner that will solve that particular issue.

Second - if you see a great post idea on another blog, by all means go and do it yourself, but do leave a mention or a link back to the original blogger. It's only manners, and there are an awful lot of people who read the same blogs so it's instantly obvious if you're after copying something. It's just daft not to credit people for original ideas.

Third - don't lose sight of why you started. If you really, really want to blog, then go and do it. Don't sit whinging about not being invited to events, or not getting the goody bags, or not getting on PR lists or getting free stuff. I've been blogging for 3 years and I can count the number of 'free' things I've been sent on one hand. I'm not going to go crying into my pillow because I didn't get sent the lipstick everyone else is raving about - to be honest, sometimes I find it harder to review a promotional product because I feel guilty if I don't like it. If you put time and effort into your work, you'll get recognition. If you've just only started, you should not expect the same perks as someone who's been doing it for years. Simple as that. Interact with other bloggers, be nice, do NOT be a bitch on twitter, don't do passive-aggressive 'some people...' posts or tweets.

Fourth - ditch the amateur dramatics. It's not life or death, it's writing and taking photographs. You don't have to be the first one to put something up, just have a look at the product and see how you can come up with a different angle. I've often read 4 or 5 reviews of something before I'll hit on one that I can identify with. You also don't have to go and spend a fortune on products. I own one MAC lipstick, and it was a gift. I own one Chanel polish, it was a prize. I remember one particularly bitter post that turned me off a blog for life - a rant about bloggers buying things with 'Daddy's money' making it impossible for 'us mere mortals' to compete. Who are you competing with? Jesus, I've seen stuff in Aldi/Tesco/Dealz/Lidl that I'd love a review on.

Lastly - if you're not enjoying it, stop it. If it's affecting your family life, job, college work, or school work, stop it. Nobody says you have to post every day. One post on a Sunday about your entire week would be better than trying to run yourself ragged trying to keep up during the week. Just relax - and do it for yourself, not because you feel like nobody will be there if you take a break. Write from your heart, write because you want to, and someone will always be there to read it.

Look, I know I'm in no way qualified to give advice to anyone. I just see an awful lot of people who seem to do it because they think everyone should have a blog, and everyone should blog about beauty products. I'd love to see more variety - what do you watch on telly? What did you love as a child? Have you cooked anything lately? Read anything? What's your favourite song? Do you have a surprising hobby? Have you found an amazing bargain? I think this challenge has been brilliant so far because of the mix of lifestyle posts, I've found some brilliant blogs with some brilliant writing.

Just.Be.You.






Friday, September 20, 2013

#SBBC Day 20 - 10 Products under €10

Hi!

A lot of my beauty products cost under €10 - but here are 10 of my favourites, in no particular order.

1. Paese Matte Make-up Base.



This is my favourite primer, it's really smooth and soft on the skin. It costs €8.95 from Cloud 10.

2. Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor Treatment.



This is one of my favourite hair treatments along with the Hask products. This smells delicious and leaves my hair silky soft. I'm actually out of the big bottle of treatment, but I have a few of these sachets on standby. A 250ml bottle of the reconstructor treatment costs €6.39 from McCabes & most chemists and supermarkets.

3. Daiso Puff & Sponge Detergent.



This was definitely one of my best buys this year. You can read my full post about it here - and see how well it works. I never thought I'd actually enjoy cleaning my make-up brushes! It costs just under €4.50 on eBay.

4. Catrice Hey Nude! Lipstick



The minute I saw Nina's review of this lipstick over on Lovely Girlie Bits, I wanted it. I finally tracked it down on a Catrice stand in town and I picked it up immediately. It's a fantastic nude colour, really moisturizing, and lasts ages. It cost €4.49, available from Catrice stands nationwide.

5. Essence I Love Stage Eyeshadow Base


I actually only became aware of this eyeshadow base when I saw a couple of posts about it during the May/June blog challenges - I'm so sorry I can't find a price for it at the minute, but I know for a fact it's under €4 and it really does do the job. An excellent eye primer!

7. Sure Women Maximum Protection Anti-Perspirant Deodorant


I reviewed this already here - the stuff is fantastic. I've used it every day since, it's legitimately the best anti-perspirant deodorant I've ever used. Gone are the days of damp armpits or sweaty underboobs (sorry). Mine was a press sample, but I'd happily pay double the €6.99 for it. It's THAT good.

8. Vichy Aqualia Thermal Soothing & Repairing Lip Balm


I have a full post and review on this here - it's a must-have for the cooler weather, and I always make sure I have a backup. It's an amazing lip product and one I will happily repurchase for years to come. Nothing else I've used has repaired my cracked lips in such a short space of time. This costs me €3.95 a pop in my local chemist.

9. Radox Brazilian Fusion Shower Gel

[Source: Unilever.com]
Radox Shower Smoothies are some of my favourite shower treats, and I always pick them up when I see them on offer. The last time I went looking, I saw this instead - Brazilian Fusion shower gel. It's a limited edition and it smells delicious, like most of the Radox scents. I also like the handy little hanger at the top of the bottle. This, along with other variations, is currently on offer in Tesco for the crazy price of €1.29. The regular price is €2.59 for a 250ml bottle.

10. Hask Argan Oil Intense Deep Conditioning Treatment


This was a saviour of mine during the hot weather. It revived my frazzled hair instantly, and lived up to every claim on the packet (which is rare). You can read my full review of it here. This cost €2.99 from my local chemist.

I can't wait to read about everyone else's bargain buys! If you're not doing the #SBBC and have discovered a brilliant product that costs under €10, please let me know in the comments!



Thursday, September 19, 2013

#SBBC Day 19 - Storage

Hi!

I love storage. Love it. I love boxes, shelves, drawers, bags - love it all. I have great visions of turning various household items into practical storage but it's something I never seem to get round to. Up until now, we were lucky to have a spare room to shove boxes & drawers in to, but the arrival of two more little ones is going to change that. I find myself at a complete loss when it comes to storage at the minute, everything from the telescope to the hoover has to find a new home. It might just be the kick I need to finally get cracking!

With that in mind, I want to show you a few of my ideal storage solutions - hopefully I'll be able to have something in place by next year!

1. Book Storage
My books all live on top of my wardrobe at the minute, which is a total nuisance when I need to find something. While Argos & Ikea are great for shelving, I find that some of it is a bit crap, and I love the idea of upcycling a cheap or free object to make something usable. These shelves from this post on Patent Pending Projects are a great idea, I'd love to do something like this and paint it to match our room.


2. Nail Polish Storage
My ultimate dream is to have a room for myself with a nail polish wall, a book wall, and a craft wall. Just throw in a fridge and I'd never leave it! One of the most impressive examples of nail polish storage that I've ever seen is from Nicole of Nail Polish Wars - just look at it. You can read the full post about the 'Nail Polish Mecca' here.

The only problem with having something like this is that my husband would know the full extent of my addiction. I mean - he knows I love nail polish, and he knows I have a hell of a lot of it, but I fear that waking up to over 400 bottles every morning may just make the man question exactly what he married...

3. Makeup Storage
I never actually realised how much makeup I buy until recently. None of it is particularly flashy or expensive, but I can't resist a good Catrice eyeshadow or a nice lipstick. I already own an acrylic lipstick holder which is really handy, I got it on eBay ages and ages ago for a few euro. I want to get a couple of the drawers next so that I can see what I have without tipping boxes out on the bed. Ultimately I'd love a clutterbox, but the prices are ridiculous. For nearly €200 it'd want to be arriving full of brand new makeup. This set is from eBay here, and costs just over €14. I'm not sure how big it is, but it would definitely hold a few shadows & lipsticks.

This is a fun little thing I found on eBay, and I'm definitely going to buy a couple - my sock drawer is disastrous, I can never find what I want, but this is so cute and such a bargain! It works out at under €7 here. It has 20 slots for storing socks or underwear. So organised, and it would be handy for a makeup drawer either.


Here are a couple of links to some of the storage I've featured on the blog before:

Current Nail Polish Storage (I just realised that I only had 2.5 drawers filled at the time of writing that post, I'm up to 5 now......oops)



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

#SBBC Day 18 - 10 Desert Island Buys

Hi!

I had to think for AGES about this one, because I know there's a "10 under €10" on the list in a day or two that I'm doing and I don't want to replicate too many products on that. Bearing that in mind, and in no particular order, here are the 10 products I would repurchase immediately if my entire stash was wiped out in a freak occurrence!

1. La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5



This stuff is magic in a tube. Since I discovered it I genuinely wouldn't be without it - I've used it for dry skin, dry lips, sunburn, rashes, burns, marks, itches - it's an absolutely fantastic product and one I will repurchase over and over.

2. Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24h


This is my second bottle of this, it's one of the only foundations that comes in a shade pale enough for me (005) but with decent coverage. It lasts ages, plus it has SPF 15. Definitely my favourite foundation of all time.

3. Korres Lip Butter


This was one of my surprise purchases of 2013 - I bought it on a whim after reading Makeup Monster's reviews on the range. I'm so glad I bought it - the shade Pomegranate is lovely, it brightens my lips up and keeps them moisturised for ages. I would definitely repurchase. I chose this because it's moisturising and it has a colour, so I don't have to pick another lip colour.

4. Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki Brush


Yes, it's dirty, but I promise, I've washed it now. At least you know I use it! This has changed the way I put on makeup. Ask my sister. Before I got this, I used to put a blob of foundation on one hand, rub my hands together, then rub it on my face. It's a fantastic brush and well worth the money.

5. Catrice Glamour Doll Mascara


I really like Catrice mascaras, I think Catrice in general are a brand who are really good at replicating high end products at cheaper prices. This one is a firm favourite of mine and is brilliant for giving volume, curl, and definition. Here's a look at it in action:



6. Soap and Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub



I know this isn't makeup, but I'm including it as skincare. I got this in the big Boots set last Christmas and I absolutely adore the stuff, I would swim in a pot of it if I could swim and it wasn't gloopy. The only downside is that it's in a tub, I wish it was in a tube or pump, but apart from that - it has the most amazing lime scent that fills the bathroom, and it's a really good scrub. I really hope it's in the set again this year!

7. O.P.I Liquid Sand Polish


O.P.I aren't a brand I'd be particularly fond of, being honest. I think they can be expensive, I think they put out too many similar colours, and I think their collections can be lazy sometimes. However, I fell in love with the texture of their liquid sand polishes when Asos had a half price sale on the Mariah Carey ones. This is the only one I've bought full price (well - full price from universal nail supplies, it cost me just over a tenner there, compared to almost €15 on asos) - it's Alcatraz Rocks from the San Francisco collection. I promise when I'm back in form for nail painting I'll do some proper swatches, but it's a brilliantly hard wearing polish that gives great coverage in two coats and lasted well over a week without any major chipping.

8. Roger & Gallet Fleur de Figuier Perfume



This was a recent buy, and one I'd definitely repurchase if it were to disappear. I love the scent - it's so fresh and unusual, and lasts ages. A little goes a long way, and I love that there are other products available to layer the fragrance. Every single time I've worn this, I've been asked what I'm wearing. It's gorgeous.

9. Vichy Normaderm Hyaluspot Treatment



I saw this reviewed on a couple of blogs earlier this year and was so intrigued that I actually asked the local chemist to order it in for me. I can't remember how much it was - around a tenner or that, but it's brilliant. I don't get spots often, but on the rare occasion that I do, I get the really annoying ones that seem to linger under the surface for days. This zapped them immediately - I was really impressed with it. My husband absolutely loves it too and is more prone to spots than I am, it has significantly shortened the life of any blemishes he's had. Another definite repurchase!

10. MUA Undress Me Too Palette


[Image: muastore.co.uk]
I bought this as part of my first MUA order earlier this year and I've used it almost every day since. The two lightest matte shades are brilliant for highlighting the browbone, and the second last one on the bottom row is my go-to shade for eyebrows. The second shadow on the bottom row is my favourite of the whole lot, it's a mink/brown with fantastic payoff. All the shades are brilliant, the pigmentation is fantastic, and it's definitely my favourite of all eyeshadow products I own. It can be hard to find on the site because of high demand, so if you see it in stock - grab it. You won't regret it.