Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Glossybox May 2015


The months are flying, aren't they? Nearly half way through the year already. This is my fifth Glossybox, the theme this month is "Summer's Calling".

I got two full sized products in my box, one mini, and two samples. There were four makeup products in last month's box, so I was glad to see something different this time.

MeMeMe Enchanted Eyes Dual Ended Eye Wand - Full Size, £6.95/€9.63

This was the product I knew I would be getting from the sneak peek last month. Blue is not a colour I'd ever buy for myself, but I'll give it a go. I like that there are two shades of blue, the darker one looks like it could be better on me than the teal. I left this on the table and Edward drew all over his face and hands with the dark blue side - it has good staying power, I'll give it that...

Etre Belle Aloe Vera Ultra Moisturising Gel - Full Size, £15.93/€22.08

At this point I almost shudder when I see the words "Aloe Vera" - everyone and their Granny seem to be trying to sell it - this is a moisturizing gel. Apparently it can "deliver moisture deep below the surface" - I'm not sure I believe that, but I do know that Aloe Vera gel is a lifesaver if you've caught the sun. If we ever do get sun again, this will go straight in the fridge to help cool skin down.

Zerreau Towel Off Shampoo Foam - Mini Size, £3.99/€5.53

This is interesting, and I don't think we've gotten a hair product yet this year (apart from the mini Dove things that nobody seemed to be impressed by) - this is a shampoo foam that you massage into your hair to clean it, then you towel dry your hair to remove residue. I gave this a go this morning and I was pleasantly surprised - My hair is just below shoulder length at the minute, and I had to use nearly half the bottle, but this is a mini size. When I put it in, it felt like using Shock Waves mousse, I was sure my hair would be crispy - but when I roughed it up with a towel, it was clean, it dried normally, and it had a nice apple scent (the foam also comes in Strawberry). I like this - it would be nice for travelling or festivals. Or laziness. It's not going to do a stellar cleaning job, but it will see you through another day.

SASS Intimate Perfect Skin Concentrate - Sample Size, £3/€4.19 approx

I saw people giving out about this on twitter on reveal day but to be honest, I was hoping I'd get it. This is a gel in a pump, containing Salicylic Acid, Aloe Vera (aaagh) and Kelisoft (a hair growth minimizer). It's for your "intimate area" and it's for use after shaving or waxing to minimise regrowth and help prevent ingrown hairs. I'm going to go into TMI territory here so feel free to move on to the last product - I have had two c-sections. Around my scar, it's still pretty numb and strange - it'll probably always be that way. When I do a bit of.....lady gardening, the regrowth around that particular area is a bitch, because no matter how itchy it gets, there's basically not a whole pile I can do - scratching that numb area is about as useful as tits on a bull. Can't feel it. This product seems to have similar ingredients to the Waxperts wonder pads, which I only started using recently for the KP on my arms (they're really good) - if this helps that horrible painfully itchy regrowth in any way, I am one happy lady. Yay for fanny products!

Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Refreshing & Refining Moisturizer - Sample Size, 7ml. £3.80/€5.26 approx

I've never tried anything from Philosophy before, so it was nice to be able to try one of their well-liked products. This feels lovely on my skin, I used too much though so this sample would probably last 5/6 applications if I hadn't squeezed loads out. The full size of this is €45.10 at Boots - I think I would purchase it, there really isn't anything I dislike about it. It might be a nice treat to save points up for. The sample could have been a bit bigger, but I am glad that it's just a moisturizer and not some specialized treatment.

The sneak peek for next month tells us that every June box will contain flash tattoos. I don't think I've worn a fake tattoo since the whole barbed wire/chinese symbol craze in the late 90s, but anyway - we'll see.

Here are the stats for the May box:

Total Cost:     £13.25/€18.66 (5c cheaper than last month's box)
Total Value:   £33.67/€46.69

Verdict: I'm happy enough with this box. I always judge a box on what will actually be used - and I can see the Aloe gel being used after sun, plus the moisturiser, shampoo and Sass gel. The only thing I wouldn't be mad on is the colour of the eyeliner - but I'll give it a shot anyway, so overall this was a good box. This is why I signed up to Glossybox - to try different things and different brands, not for Dove and Carmex - so if it continues in this way I'll definitely keep my subscription.

Did you get Glossybox this month? Did you get anything different in your box?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Get Ready With Me - 90's Style!


No, no. I haven't filmed another video. What I have done is bought a few of the products I used to use in the 90s, particularly the late 90s when I started going to discos. When they were called discos.

Spurred on by a discussion on twitter one night about Max Factor Panstik (I had seen someone mention on a facebook page that it was actually a concealer) and this tweet from my friend Chloe:

Well, ask and ye shall receive. When I spotted Panstik in my local chemist, I picked one up for under €6. The lady at the counter told me they still fly off the shelf!! I got the shade "Noveau Beige", also known as trusty #13. Not wanting to leave my lips out, I also got ye olde Heather Shimmer lipstick from Rimmel. I'm not even sure they make frosted white or lilac eyeshadow anymore, so I went for the purples in the Smashbox Double Exposure palette. Here's what I would have used back in the day:

If you were a fellow fan of Spectacular nail polish (seriously, one of the first things I did as an adult with internet access was track down the former company owner and tell her how much I loved their polish, best moment ever when she replied) - there are some great images over on this blog. I must have gone through 5 bottles of Onyx Sparkle.

So - here it is! Get ready with me, the 90's edit.

Here's what I used:

First, use the green concealer from the palette to cover anywhere that might get red. You want to look as pale as possible so lash lots of it on your cheeks. The aim here is to look like you're about to get sick.

Next, take the panstik and apply all over your face. Don't really worry about rubbing it in, just make sure your freckles are all covered. Don't miss your eyebrows. Don't worry about your neck.

You want it to be nice and thick around your nose, like so:

Next - eyebrows. Just scrape the panstick out of them with your nail. Mam said if you use a little brush to brush them upwards they'll look nice and tidy, so do that then put a bit of vaseline on them to keep them in place. Or just lick your finger and wipe it on them. Same thing. That's the face done - don't use blusher, because you just put the green concealer on to stop being red, so why would you want to add more red? Duh!

Now, eyeshadow - get a purple one and put it all over your eyes from lid to eyebrow using your fingers. Or you can use a white pearl one but not two together. Just pick one colour and stick to it!

Now - kohl eyeliner! There was one free with Sugar or Mizz magazine ages ago so keep paring that one until it's nearly too small to see, then apply liberally around your eyes, including the corners where it will gather and turn into gunk. Don't worry if it's uneven because that adds to the coolness.  Put mascara on too, I like Maybelline Great Lash because it's from America and everything from America is cool. Don't bother curling your lashes.

Now - lipliner. Did you know that you'll look like you have bigger lips if you draw outside the lines? Coooll!!! Do that with a dark browny purple lipliner. My favourite is from Spectacular.

Now, get a really nice lipstick like Heather Shimmer from Rimmel. This is my favourite because all my friends have it and it's really nice. Put loads of it on.

And you're done!! Put half of your hair up to make your face look thinner and leave the rest of it down. Spray on loads of So...? perfume or Ex-cla-ma-tion and you're good to go!

You'll definitely get in to the disco now!! Don't forget to put your can of impulse in your bag, and definitely don't forget the Panstik in case your freckles start to come through. Your friends will probably have one anyway, it's so cool that everyone is the same shade so you can all share!

Have fun xx

Do you know how many giant cotton pads it took to get the Panstik off? Five. FIVE.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Books I Read in April


After only managing to finish 4 books in March, April was a much better month for me. I got through a lot of kindle books at night, and began to tackle my pile of physical books too. I finished 14, so let's get started!

Book Club
There were four books to choose from in the Rick O'Shea Book Club this month. The theme was YA (Young Adult), and the choices were all on the shortlist for the 2015  YA Book Prize. I had already read one of the books - Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill (my review here) and couldn't get my hands on another (A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond), so I chose these two:

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick
This is comprised of four stories, linked by the central theme of spirals. The idea is that spirals are everywhere and have been since the beginning of time - in staircases, in plants, in insects, in our fingerprints. Supposedly this can be read in any order (presumably to drive the point home that spirals have no beginning or end) but I read it in the order of publication and it was fine. The first story was set in caveman times and was more of a long poem, the second was in the middle ages and set around witch trials, the third was in an asylum in the 1920s, and the fourth was in space. It was thought provoking and good, but the maths stuff in the 4th story went over my head. 3 stars for the middle two stories, brilliant. They were reminiscent of The Crucible and Shutter Island respectively.

Half Bad by Sally Green
Nathan is a witch - half white, half black. Black witches are captured on sight and killed, so his life is in grave danger. He wants to find out more about Marcus, his Voldemort-esque father, so embarks on a journey to learn about him while trying to avoid capture on the way. When he reaches 17, he will receive three gifts that will allow him to become a fully-fledged witch - but who will give him his gifts? He hears of someone named Mercury who might be able to help, so decides to go and find her. Throw in a love interest and a host of secondary characters and you have a mediocre read that didn't leave me aching to buy the sequel.

I read two non-fiction books this month, both had a similar writing style.

The Great Beanie Baby Bubble by Zac Bissonnette
A book about beanie babies?! How interesting could that be?! - VERY! This was the true tale of the Willy Wonka-esque creator of Beanie Babies and how he basically turned a very simple idea into a multi-million dollar operation. The creator refused to give his side of the story - notoriously private Ty Warner doesn't even have a telephone number listed for his company. Zac Bissonnette travels all over America talking to people who spent their life savings on beanie babies that are now worthless. He also talks to people who worked for or know Ty Warner - and builds up a picture of a man who treated his workers generously while appearing to loathe fellow businesspeople. This was a brilliant read, so entertaining.

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
I read about this on Breige's blog - to be honest, it took me a while to get through. I found a lot of it to be repetitive,but it was still a good look at the role social media has in instantly punishing people. Jon talks to people who have been publicly shamed in some way - be it for a picture posted online, or an ill-judged tweet - he follows their stories and finds out what happened to them afterwards. He also asks - can you ever recover from a public shaming? I was spoiled with Zac Bissonnette's engaging writing in the previous book, so this fell a little flat for me, but I still enjoyed it.

I heard about Blake Crouch's Wayward Pines trilogy when I heard that a new TV show starring Matt Dillon was coming to FOX TV in May. It looked like a cross between Twin Peaks and The Stepford Wives so I wanted to see what the books were like - they were fantastic and I read all three over a weekend.

FBI Agent Ethan Burke is on a mission to investigate the disappearance of two Federal Agents. He wakes on the side of the road in a strange town with bruises and cuts, and no memory of who he is. He is in the small town of Wayward Pines, and needs help. Unfortunately for Ethan, he soon begins to realise that once you arrive in Wayward Pines - there's no getting out.

Now that Ethan knows the truth about the town, we see what happens when other residents begin to figure it out. There's a branch of residents who are trying to break away - Ethan is asked to infiltrate them, but can he do it? Will he use what he knows to help them escape? More importantly, is there any point in trying?

The Last Town
In a book reminiscent of Hugh Howey's Dust, we find out about the origins of the town and those in charge. Meanwhile, all hell has broken loose in town and everyone is in grave danger. There's only one thing that Ethan can think of that will save them - but will anyone go along with him?

Brilliant, loved it, definitely going to watch the series (May 14th, FOX, Sky 188 & UPC 126 - it's apparently the three books in one series).


Under The Hawthorn Tree by Marita Conlon McKenna
Those of us over a certain age remember reading this in Primary School - who wasn't affected by the death of baby Bridget and the uncertainty over whether the children would survive the famine? It's amazing what stays with you over the years - I didn't remember the story 100% but I had always remembered the blood-letting of the cow and how sick that made me feel. It's easy to be detached from the events of the famine while we sit with takeaway numbers and full freezers to hand - it's humbling to read about events that took place in reality, events our ancestors survived. A must-read even if you've read it before. This took on a whole new meaning for me reading it as a Mum, the parents must have been so terrified for their children.

I read six fiction books:

The Ice Twins by S.K Tremayne
This is a really creepy atmospheric thriller about a grieving couple who have lost one of their twin daughters. They are preparing to move into a lighthouse keeper's cottage inherited by the husband. The remaining twin begins to claim she is actually Lydia, the twin they thought they had buried. Have they made a huge mistake or is there something more sinister at play? The couple have other personal issues to overcome, neither of them are being 100% honest and the little girl is a great character. Recommended!

The Accidental Life of Greg Millar by Aimee Alexander
A look at how a couple cope when one of them is affected by mental illness. This follows the highs and lows of their relationship, and how they deal with it - this got a bit silly towards the end for me but it was a worthwhile read and not a theme I've come across too often lately.

The Crooked House by Christobel Kent
A young girl narrowly escapes a horrific killing spree one night that leaves most of her family dead and her father accused of the murders. Years later, she is living far away from her hometown under a different name - until her boyfriend has to perform best man duties for a friend holding her wedding there. Will the townsfolk remember her? Will she discover that someone knows what really happened the night she lost her family? A really good thriller - the "big reveal" let it down for me, it ended a bit abruptly, but the descriptive writing and the story up to that was brilliantly captivating.

Kiss a Girl in the Rain by Nancy Warren
The premise for this was great - a successful wealthy lawyer finds a bucket list he wrote when he was 12 and realises he hasn't completed half the things he wanted to do as a boy. He embarks on a journey to tick items off his list - and gets on a motorbike to ride cross-country. He gets about an hour in before he has an accident, and meets a stunning doctor (as you do) and despite the title being the uber-romantic "kiss a girl in the rain" (one of the items on his list), the two of them are at it like rabbits before you can say "What's up Doc?" rendering the whole thing pointless. Insta-love, utter tripe, horrible characters, predictable (there's a heavily pregnant character, so we know what's going to happen there). Waste of time.

A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
This was physically one of the most challenging books I've ever read. Eimear doesn't write in traditional sentences - it's a "stream of consciousness" style that has been compared to Joyce (not a fan). It's a basic story - Holy Catholic Ireland, secrets, abuse, shame, more abuse, loss, death, grief, more secrets, more shame, more abuse, more death - it's very hard to read (physically and emotionally), and for that reason I think that when I found my rhythm I stayed with it and got completely sucked in to the character's head. It had me in tears more than once and I have thought about it several times since - worthwhile, but you need the energy for it. If you have experienced a loss recently approach with caution.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
I dipped my toe into the world of Rachel Joyce last year with her book Perfect (review here), which I liked. This had been recommended to me several times since, so I thought it would be something easy to read after the Eimear McBride book. Harold gets a letter from his old friend Queenie to say Goodbye, as she he has cancer and can't be cured. He writes a short reply and walks to the postbox to post it. When he gets there, he decides to walk to the next one, and so on. Harold ends up on a 600 mile pilgrimage from the South of England to Scotland to "save" Queenie and let her know she has something to hang on for. Harold and Queenie aren't the real story here - Harold and his wife Maureen have a sad, strained marriage with both of them afraid to express their feelings and thoughts after some incidents that left them broken. Maureen goes on a journey as much as Harold - their relationship had me in tears! A lovely, lovely book and I'm currently tearing through Queenie's side of the story in Rachel's latest book, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey.

So that's it - as always, I'm open to recommendations, so please let me know if you're reading something good at the moment. Hopefully you'll discover something from this post that you will enjoy!