Monday, December 23, 2013

China Glaze Happy Holiglaze Swatches


I have a few swatches from the recent "Happy Holiglaze" collection from China Glaze. At first glance, nothing really jumped out at me from this collection - but I actually really like a couple of polishes from it. I bought a set of 4 mini polishes called "Be Bright" from Salon Supply Store on eBay a while ago (link) - I love China Glaze minis, they are a very generous 9.6ml compared to other brands. CoughOPIcough.

[Source: eBay, link in post]
The four colours in this set are (L-R) Your Present Required, Be Merry Be Bright, Bells Will Be Blinging, and Mingle With Kringle.

Today I have some swatches of Your Present Required, Be Merry Be Bright, and Mingle With Kringle that I've accumulated over the past two weeks or so. First up - Your Present Required.

It's a thick multiglitter with hexes of various sizes. This was two coats on its own. I definitely think it would look a lot better over a dark polish, but I think that of every glitter!

Next up is Be Merry, Be Bright - another glitter.

This was on the lesser-spotted left hand, apologies forth e dodgy nail shapes!!

I'm not mad about either polish to be completely honest. I think I'm coming to the end of my super-glitter love affair - this always happens to me at the end of Winter, I seem to overdose on glitter polish from August onwards and I get totally sick of it. Both polishes apply well and I didn't have to go fishing for particles, but they were just a bit....meh.

The next one I tried was the gold foil, Mingle with Kringle.

I LOVE this polish. It's super shiny, much brighter and shinier than some other golds I own - in the bottle it reminded me of OPI Goldeneye but it's a few shades lighter and much less of a pain in the bum to remove. Definitely a favourite, and this year's Christmas Day polish pick.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Irish Bbloggers Secret Santa Reveal!


I took part in the recent Secret Santa that the gorgeous and lovely Aisling from Total Make Up Addict organized - I made the closing date by the skin of my teeth! Aisling matched up several Irish beauty bloggers and we all received the name and address of the person we had to buy for. I was matched with Sarah from RaRa Giggles, and I was delighted when I got her - she's a lovely girl and it was lovely to be able to buy her something nice.

I felt a bit sorry for whoever had gotten me - I can be a bit awkward to buy for, but the absolutely wonderful Anne Marie from Girl Friday's Beauty Blog did a fantastic job and gave me one of two presents I received this year that I will truly treasure forever. I have no shame in saying that I cried!

First of all, when I opened the envelope I pulled out a magazine -  this is a pro hair & beauty magazine that had a nail art supplement with it, which I thought was so nice! I'm saving it for Christmas Day, I love having something to read after dinner and I will really enjoy having a flick through it.

Next there was a really cute stocking - Anne Marie put my presents into a gorgeous snowman stocking instead of using wrapping paper which I thought was ingenious - I'd never have thought of that! Plus, now I have my own stocking :)

Inside were a host of nail goodies - a really cute Models Own glitter and polish set, a gorgeous hand cream from The Body Shop, some nail stickers, and two fab polishes from the Precious Polish "Not so Silent Night" collection. I also got a beautiful card.

I was thrilled with the polishes - I'd been meaning to order some from the collection and I'd completely forgotten about it, so I was delighted to find them here! Great job with the new labels too Anita, hopefully 2014 will be a great year for Precious Polish.

Finally, there was a little gift bag that contained this next thing - not strictly part of the Secret Santa, but a beautiful Christmas gift. Our little family went from 3 to 5 this year, and Anne Marie sent this to mark the occasion:

It's absolutely gorgeous and I will treasure it forever, it did make me cry to realise that we do have our own little family! A day or two later, I received another beautiful gift from a lady I consider a friend but have also yet to meet - lovely Róisín from Cuti-Clue-les sent me this:

To receive such gorgeous personal, thoughtful, heartfelt gifts from lovely ladies I haven't had the pleasure of meeting in person yet made me realise that there is so much more to the word "friend" than someone you see every few days. I am truly blessed to have gotten to know some wonderful people through twitter and blogging - a couple of years ago I genuinely led a very, very boring life and with the exception of my gorgeous sister, had no real interaction with anyone who shared my interests. The blogging community and in particular the Irish Beauty Blogging community have changed all that - even though I am here in the house mostly all day with small children, I feel like I still know what's going on, I'm still having the craic, and I still get to join in with things. It's invaluable and I'm so grateful to be a little part of it.

So - a huge thanks to Aisling for spreading such a huge dose of Christmas Cheer around, and a huge thank you to Anne Marie who really put a serious amount of thought into choosing my gifts, I really really appreciate every second you spent in picking out something for me. Thank you also Róisín for such a thoughtful present.

I will treasure both decorations forever - I have a piddly little tree due to the fact that baby things seem to be multiplying and slowly taking over the house, but they have brightened it and us up no end. Sincerely, thank you x

Merry Christmas xx

Monday, December 16, 2013

Big Bumper Book Post!


I don't know about you, but Christmas isn't Christmas without some new books. As a child, my favourite part of Christmas Day was after dinner, when I'd curl up on the armchair with my newest Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High, and Point Horror books. This would continue well into Christmas week, until I'd devoured them all. I thought I'd take the chance to talk books while this is happening:

A while back, I was sent two beautiful books from the amazing Designer Classics series from the publishing division of ROADS, an amazing new Irish lifestyle company. There are ten books in the series, and while the stories haven't changed, the books have evolved into contemporary, stylish, beautiful publications - almost design pieces in themselves. The amount of thought and care that has gone into each one is amazing - I was sent The Great Gatsby and Notes From Underground.

The others in the series are Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, The Scarlet Letter, Madam Bovary, To The Lighthouse, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Hound of the Baskervilles and Heart of Darkness. They cost €12.50/£9.99 each and are available from all good bookshops - they make a beautiful present, I know I certainly wouldn't object to finding a couple under the Christmas tree.

Next up is a relatively new avenue for me - the e-book. I was adamant that I was not going to enter the world of e-reading, making many speeches about how I need to touch and feel a book to enjoy it - but I have been proven wrong! While I will never stop buying actual books (as the ROADS books above demonstrate - they are things of beauty) I am really enjoying the whole e-book experience and am enjoying adding to my arsenal of literature.

I was blessed with a great husband but alas one who is afraid of chemists and with no interest in online shopping, so he gives me money every Christmas and tells me to go and treat myself. Usually I end up doing more Christmas shopping but this year, I did treat myself - among the things I picked up was a Kobo touch e-reader. I got mine on Littlewoods for the very reasonable price of €64 incl. delivery.

My reasons for buying the Kobo were twofold - firstly, I haven't a whole lot of free time to read anymore. I usually end up reading while I'm feeding one of the babies, and it's really difficult to turn a page and feed a baby at the same time. Enter Kobo!! All I have to do to turn the page is tap the screen, with the result that I'm really enjoying reading again. Secondly, Alex Marwood, the author of the best book I read this year released her second novel, The Killer Next Door on December 5th. For some unknown reason, it won't be available in this neck of the woods until June next year, meaning I had to get it as an e-book. I got it on Amazon, delivered to Kindle to PC, then used a great free programme called Calibre to convert it to e-pub and put it onto the Kobo.

I also bought some other e-books, a selection of which I have here (all images from amazon):

Sharon Osbourne - Unbreakable. I really enjoyed this. It covers the period from the year Sharon appeared on the X factor with Dannii Minogue right up until the beginning of this year's series. Her honesty in describing her problems in her marriage is admirable and at times heartbreaking. Her love for her children and grandchild is evident in every sentence she writes about them - she just seems like someone I would love in my corner.

Helen Fielding - Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy. Oh Helen. I hated this book with a fiery passion. It actually felt like I was reading fanfic - it's laughable. The lines "what colour are your knickers, Jones?" and "It's raining men" are in here. Bridget is in her fifties - by no means over the hill, but she is acting even sillier than she did in the first two books. I read over a hundred pages and then had to stop, I couldn't take any more. I've reviewed it in full over on Goodreads, but it's not pretty. Quite obviously made for film, not for the enjoyment of any reader.

Stephen King - Doctor Sleep. The sequel to The Shining. I haven't read this yet, but I'm looking forward to it. If you've ever wondered what became of young Danny Torrance, then you need to pick this up!

Elizabeth Smart - My Story. In 2002, 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped by a religious fanatic where she endured horrific abuse for over a year until she managed to escape. This book has received mixed reviews, but I want to give it a go anyway.

Stephen King - The Shining. I wanted to re-read this book before starting Doctor Sleep. I haven't read it since I was in my teens, and even though I know what happens, it's not spoiling my reading experience. If anything, I think I'm enjoying it more because I'm not rushing to see what happens. If you haven't read it, you should give it a go. It's the wonderfully written story of a man slowly going insane while he and his family are the sole occupants of a creepy hotel, The Overlook. Jack Torrance, former alcoholic with an anger problem, thinks that taking the job as Winter caretaker will be the ideal opportunity to finish writing his play and reconnect with his wife and young son after some troublesome times. Instead, he truly discovers the meaning of the words "cabin fever" and comes face-to-face with demons in every sense of the word.

Jojo Moyes - The Girl You Left Behind. Jojo Moyes didn't feature highly on my radar before I read Me Before You and The Last Letter From Your Lover (reviewed here) this year. The Girl You Left Behind is a crossover between a French artist's wife in 1916 and a young woman in the present day, both experiencing love and loss.

Cecelia Ahern - How to Fall in Love. I didn't like this. I do tend to switch my brain off when I read a Cecelia Ahern book - that's not me being nasty, I find her books really good when I can't find the energy to tackle a big tome and want to dive into a world of love, humour and friendship - but this was unrealistic and silly. I couldn't get past the fact that this supposedly sensible woman took a huge risk with her safety by inviting someone into her life so soon and so intensely. It attempts to deal with serious mental issues but in reality the main female lead comes off as unhinged and obsessive. Reviewed here.

Liane Moriarty - The Husband's Secret. I'm really looking forward to reading this one. Imagine if your husband wrote you a letter containing his deepest, darkest secrets. A letter only to be read after his death. Now imagine that you've just found it - while your husband is still alive. I'm not familiar with the writing of Liane Moriarty, but I find the premise really intriguing and I can't wait to get stuck in!

Finally, I want to focus on a couple of children's books - I never wanted to force the issue of reading on to my eldest son, but I'm delighted that he has turned out to be a huge reader. This year, as always, I've picked up a couple of books for him including:

Jeff Kinney - Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Hard Luck. My son is a huge fan of this series, so I had to pick up the latest installment in the series about young Greg and his experiences at school. I find these books great for encouraging chats about what's going on with my own boy at school.

The Lego Ideas Book. I've lost count of the amount of lego sets I've bought only for them to be made and left to one side. This is a deadly book that has loads of illustrations and ideas on how to make new and exciting things without having to buy specific kits. I can see this one being a huge favourite!

Olympic & World Records. I picked this one up in Heatons for under a tenner. While not a major fan of sports, my boy is a huge fan of facts and really enjoyed watching the Olympics last year. This is a great big hardback book full of Olympic related statistics.

Emer Stamp - The Top Secret Diary of Pig. This is a really funny story, it's essentially the tale of a pig who loves his farmer - why wouldn't he? Farmer calls him sausage, feeds him slops, and makes sure he's getting nice and fat.........written in a diary form, in "pig-style", this will go down a storm with  6-9 year olds.

Please buy at least one book as a present this year. Even if it's just a picture book - books are such a great present and it's so nice to encourage reading. You'll never be alone as long as you have a book. If you have any book suggestions, fire ahead in the comments!

The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read - Mark Twain.