Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Essie Summer Neon Collection 2015


Essie seem to have a new collection out every few months - and you'll hear no complaints from me in that department. This is their Summer Neon Collection for 2015 - Make Some Noise (that's what it's called, I'm not being twee).

I bought the mini kit, containing four of the shades. The more I look at Groove is in the Heart the more I wish I had ordered it too. I may have just ordered it. Maybe. 

Anyway - here's the kit I got from my usual eBay seller (Beautyzone2007).

The shades included are (L-R) Make Some Noise, All Access Pass, Coacha' Bella, and Vibrant Vibes. 

Let's have a look at them individually, because there are a couple of things I want to mention. As always, swatches are indoors and outdoors.

Make Some Noise

This blue was quite hard to photograph, it's a little darker than it appears here but it's a beauty - and this was ONE COAT. It levelled out beautifully, and dried really quickly.

All Access Point

I had issues with this one - the formula was quite strange. I love the colour, it's a gorgeous blurple that looks really vibrant, but it kept glooping on me while I was applying it. It was almost as if it were drying too quickly and sticking to itself. I haven't read about any issues with this anywhere else, so it may have been my bottle - but this wasn't my favourite of the bunch.

Coacha' Bella

Described as "molten magenta", I think this was my favourite of the four. It's really bright and happy, and not always a colour I see in Summer collections. No application issues at all with this one.

Vibrant Vibes

This was a little streaky but dried out well. That's two coats in the picture, I could have done with another light one. It's not a colour I'd go for myself - it doesn't do anything for my skin tone - but it would be fantastic with a tan and it's a really lovely colour for the time of year.

Overall I'm impressed, but Essie are a fairly reliable brand anyway. One thing I'd say about the neons - they're not traditional neons like the OPI or China Glaze ones, they're easier to work with (with the exception of All Access Point) and they didn't have that slightly rubbery finish.

Anything catching your eye? Have you also got Groove is in the Heart by Dee-Lite on a loop in your head?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Glossybox June 2015


If you follow my blog, you may have noticed that this month's Glossybox review is a bit late.

That is because it was shite.

I honestly had zero enthusiasm about even taking these photographs, but anyway - here we go, Glossybox June 2015. The Festival Edit.

-------MONU Spa Rosewood Reviving Mist-------

Full or Sample: Sample (50ml) | Worth: £3.58/€5.01 approx | Available At: Monushop

This is an "energising mist [that] will hydrate, revitalise and gently perfume the skin" Gently perfume. GENTLY PERFUME. No. This is full on, in-your-face Old Lady flowers. In your face. The musty smell might revive some, but all it made me want to do was open a window.

-------Kueshi Anticellulite Booster Anticellulite Lotion-------

Full or Sample: Full | Worth: £14.55/€20.36 | Available At: Kueshi

Right. This is the Festival Edit. Leaving aside the fact that I think the only think you can do for cellulite is prevention, would I not have had to start using this months ago to give it time to work before any of the Festivals? It's a full sized product, which is great, but if only it were a little more useful. This went down like a lead balloon - I put it in the Christmas drawer, so if you get this in a hamper - you're welcome. 

-------Glossybox Flash Tattoos-------

Full or Sample: Full | Worth: £6.50/€9.10 | Available At: Exclusive to the box

Stop it. Stop it with the tattoos. Please. STOP IT. If I want to wear jewellery, I'll wear jewellery. If I wanted a tattoo, I'd get a tattoo. If I wanted to muck around with water and paper tattoos I'd go back to 1992 when they came free with Bubblegum. 

-------Essence XXXL Shine Lipgloss-------

Full or Sample: Full | Worth: £1.85/€2.59 | Available At:  Penneys

I like Essence. It's a lovely affordable brand. I don't subscribe to a luxury beauty box to get something I can pick up anywhere. UK Glossybox subscribers got nail polish, the rest of us got a lipgloss. It's nice, but I already have several of these. And my diamond shoes are too tight. 

-------Halo Fragrance Free Facial Wipes-------

Full or Sample Size: Sample | Worth: £1.20/€1.68 | Available At: Halowipes

I understand why these are here, wipes are an essential for any festival. I'd have liked a bigger packet, and something more natural like Water Wipes, but that's nitpicking (ME?!). They fit well with the theme of the box, and they're handy for popping in the handbag so I can wipe lipstick off my hand in Boots. The wipes themselves are fine - but I won't be using them on my face. 

Overall Impression

Cost: €18.74
Worth: €38.74

Next month promises a French theme in collaboration with an illustrator, so I'm hoping that the focus won't just be on the box design - two bad boxes in a row and I'll be cancelling, so fingers crossed the July one comes through!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Latest in Beauty Box:Glamour Summer Beauty Edit


Oh, have I got a good one for you today. I'm a recent convert to subscription boxes - but this is, hands down, the best one I've ever gotten. I'll get the housekeeping out of the way first - you can order it here if you're in Ireland, it costs approximately €31 and you need to pay your Parcel Motel fee on top of that. UK folks can avail for £17.95 plus P+P. As with every box I review, I'll leave pricing info and links to where you can purchase the products under each picture.

There are a whopping 11 products in this box - some fantastic brands too.

1. Balance Me Super Toning Body Polish. 

Size: 50ml Full/Sample: Sample Available at: Debenhams Worth: €7.33 approx

A three-in-one exfoliator, toner and moisturiser, this has gritty particles similar to The Body Shop scrubs. It has a lovely fresh scent and is a decent sample size.

2. Bourjois Color Boost Lip Crayon in 04 - Peach on the Beach

Size: 2.75g Full/Sample: Full Available at: Boots Worth: €10.99

A full sized Color Boost lip crayon from Bourjois. Three shades available, I got the shade "Peach on the Beach". This promises to last for up to ten hours but no, it doesn't. Still - it is mighty pretty on, giving a glossy finish perfect for this time of year. It has an SPF of 15, and feels lovely on the lips.

3. Caudalie Divine Oil

Size: 15ml Full/Sample: Sample Available at: Natural Skincare Worth: €4.49 approx

Containing grape, hibiscus, argan and sesame oils, this dry oil is suitable for body, face and hair. It smells A-MAY-ZING. Seriously. It's gorgeous. I tried it on my arms and I've been smelling myself for about a half an hour. I can't wait to try it on my hair!

4. Eucerin Mattifying Sun Fluid for Face, Factor 50+

Size: 50ml Full/Sample: Full Available at: Boots Worth: €15 

This is a lightweight sun protection fluid. It dries in quickly, is not greasy, and offers factor 50 UVA and UVB protection. There are three other variations from the range in the boxes, but I'm delighted I got this one. Someone as pale as me can never have too many sunscreens! I love that it doesn't stink, nor does it leave a residue on my hands - I put this on my neck a few seconds ago and I'm typing with non-greasy fingers. LOVE. 

5 & 6. L'Occitane Essential Oils Shampoo and Conditioner

Size: 35ml each Full/Sample: Samples Available at: L'occitane Worth: €3.50 each approx

Going by the label colour, I think this is the Repairing shampoo and conditioner but it doesn't mention that on the samples or on the editor's sheet. Regardless, you know how I feel about tiny shampoo and conditioner samples, but I'll still give them a go. I would have loved a sea salt spray instead, but I've never tried L'occitane hair products before so it's nice to get a new-to-me brand! These promise to gloss and nourish the hair. (How do you pronounce L'Occitane? Is it lossy-tane or loxy-tan?)

7. Nails Inc Gel Effect Polish in Kensington Passage

Size: 8ml. Full/Sample: Full Available at: Brown Thomas Worth: €17

One of three available shades, I received Kensington Passage, a bright coral. This was opaque in one coat, but two coats gave it a lovely glossy finish. It has a nice brush, not too long but not too stubby, and it dried quickly. I wouldn't be the world's biggest Nails Inc fan, but this is lovely and I'm delighted I got a chance to try it. I think it will be my Summer toe polish! There's a swatch at the end of this post. 

8. Pixi Glow Tonic

Size: 15ml Full/Sample: Sample Available at: Cult Beauty Worth: €1.48 approx

First off, can I say how baffled I am that both the Caudalie and Pixi samples contain 15ml, yet the Caudalie looks about three times the size. Clever bottling? Anyway, this is something I've wanted to try for ages! After a disgustingly rude customer service experience with Mise Beauty (regarding this product, actually), I won't touch them with a bargepole and haven't been able to catch this in stock anywhere else. Cult Beauty currently have it, but I'm so happy that I can try it without shelling out for the full size. 

9 & 10 Vita Liberata Trystal Minerals and Brush

Size: 3g Full/Sample: Sample Tan, Full Brush Available at: Cloud 10 Worth: €13.32 approx

The world's first self-tanning bronzer! In the shade No. 01, Sunkissed, this is really intriguing. You apply it to your face with the kabuki brush (which is soooooo soft) and apparently it gives a bronzed glow that lasts up to five days. This was a recent winner at the Cosmopolitan Beauty Awards, and something I would never have bought - so it's great to be able to try something innovative and new. 

11: Seekers of the Sun Luxury Temporary Tattoos

Size: One Sheet Sample/Full: Full Available at: Seekers of the SunWorth: €13.70 approx

I'll be honest with you, I don't get the whole tattoo thing. I don't. This seems to have become a craze overnight - there are some in this month's Glossybox too. I can see the appeal for festivals, but what am I going to do with temporary tattoos? Wash dishes and change nappies? The one thing that I like about these ones is that they're much smaller than other ones I've seen. I thought that they'd be perfect to pair with the nail polish from the box, and I was really happy with how it turned out:

* This particular sheet isn't available to buy, they were exclusively designed for Glamour. 

So - that's it. By far, the best beauty box I've ever bought. Absolutely delighted with it, and I can't wait to see what the Autumn and Winter Glamour boxes bring! 

Cost (not including Parcel Motel fee): €31. 
Value of items in box: €90.31

You can still get this box at Latest in Beauty here.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

SoSu Polish by Suzanne Jackson - SoSu or So-So?


The world and its mother have now heard about SoSu, Suzanne Jackson's beauty line. The first product from the line is a 25-strong range of "gel finish polishes". You can watch Suzanne speaking about the launch of the polish below.

I have absolutely nothing against Suzanne, I am most definitely not 'a hater'. I congratulate her on her success, and on building her name and reputation over the past 5 years. Fair play to her for building something so recognisable, she is a very good businesswoman. I appreciate her hard work and her dedication, and I appreciate the amount of work it takes to launch a brand.

These aren't gel polishes. Nor do they have a gel finish. Nor are they salon quality. Nor do they give a perfect wash of colour in one coat. Nor do they last longer than regular nail polishes.

When my sister tweeted me a few months back to tell me about this launch, my response was lukewarm. At one point last year I owned over 500 nail polishes - what was special about another collection? I was passing my local chemist about a week after, and saw one of these posters on the window.

The colours caught my eye immediately - gel finish polishes in nude, pastels, dark vampy reds and blues, and glitter? Sign me up. A white gel? A beige gel? A coral gel? Yes please!! I bought two that day, and went back for a third a few days after. They cost me €7.99 each.

They have a long, thin brush. The shape of the bottles is great, and the logo is crisp and clean. They're very attractive to look at and they look fantastic lined up on a dresser or shelf. The first one I wore, I wore it without a basecoat or topcoat. It's called "Coral Reef" and it's a bright, vibrant orangey coral colour. A little darker than it appeared to be in the bottle, it applied really well and gave a nice shine in two coats. On day 1, it looked like this:

On day 2, this - the shine had dulled and I had slight tipwear on my ring finger but nothing too drastic.

By the end of day 3, it looked like this (photo taken on phone):

3 days. From a gel finish polish? Right, no problem, I'll try the next one - with a basecoat.

This is Rock Candy, a stunning baby pink that reminded me of a polish from Spectacular that I wore years ago. It's beautiful, I haven't come across a colour like it from any brand in years. It took 2 coats, but was still slightly streaky after coat 2. Most definitely not a gel finish, it had no more shine than any other normal polish brand (Catrice, No.7, Sally Hansen).

On day 1 it looked like this:

On day 2, this:

I purposely applied this after I had done housework, on a Friday, when I knew I didn't have much to do that evening. On the Saturday, the most I had done was cook dinner and go for a walk, I hadn't even done any typing - so why did it chip like this?

At this point I started to look for other reviews, wondering what I was doing wrong, and kept coming across claims of the polish lasting a week. I also saw comments on facebook and twitter about the polish chipping, plus when I mentioned it on Snapchat I had several messages from people who had the same issue. I took to Suzanne's instagram to see if there were any comments there about chipping, and there were plenty - her suggestion to those who were having chip issues was to use a base coat and top coat. With a base and top coat she had been wearing her polish for a week, on holiday, in and out of salt water, and had no chips. Her own range carries a base coat and topcoat for €7.99 each.

I'm not going to go and spend another €16 so that the polishes I shelled out €24 for can do their job properly - if a polish range is marketed as a gel finish, salon quality range, that's what it should be. Regardless, I took Suzanne's own advice and picked out a base and top coat from my stash.

I used a Butter London basecoat with the final shade I bought.  "I do"  is one that has been suggested as the perfect Bridal polish. After two coats it was still streaky, it took ages to dry, and it most definitely did not have a gel shine. It looks milky. I used the big daddy of topcoats this time - CND Vinylux Weekly Top Coat.

Here is the polish on Day 1 with topcoat:

And lo and behold, Day 2:

I can't recommend these. If you're looking for a long lasting polish, try CND Vinylux weekly polish. I've now tried three shades from them and they have lasted well into day 6 or 7. If you'd prefer a cheaper price, have a look at the new Essence gel finish polishes. Róisín has some fantastic swatches - and if ever there were someone who would tell you the truth, it's her. I trust her 100% when it comes to nail polish, she is a fellow polish addict and absolutely knows her stuff.

I'm disappointed with the SoSu range - and I'm disappointed with the number of inaccurate reviews around. I bought these because they were marketed as gel-finish, long lasting, salon quality. Would I have bought them if they were marketed as normal polishes? I'm not sure. Would I have been as annoyed had they cost me €3.99 each instead of €7.99? Probably not. There's no way this polish lasts without chips for 7 days, unless I've been terribly unfortunate with the three shades I chose. If yours has lasted 7 days, please tell me what you did - because I'll absolutely do the same and see if it lasts longer, and I'll do another review with daily photos, because the colours are stunning and I'd love to support an Irish blogger with her business.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Books I Read in May


I did really well during the first half of May, then it all went to pot. I think I lost the will to read after getting through one of my book club choices - more about that in a minute - I managed to finish 12, and despite vowing not to pick any more books up, I requested more from Netgalley and borrowed from the library. If anyone has a couple of hours going spare, send 'em my way...

Book Club

There were two choices this month for the Rick O'Shea book club - The Glorious Heresies  by Lisa McInerney (I'm reading that at the minute) and this:

I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
I've seen so many glowing reviews of this "thriller" - I thought it was absolute shite. It was the type of book that a young Tom Cruise would have written aged 15 as a screenplay with himself in the lead. It was too long, there were two separate storylines that didn't connect at all, and the brilliantly intelligent wonderful marvellous (according to him, anyway) Pilgrim relied on coincidence and luck to solve a crime. I hated it, and didn't find it thrilling at all.


One thing I wanted to do in 2015 was read more books that have been turned into movies. I love seeing the differences and reading the original storylines. With that in mind, I read three.

The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
Walter and Joanna Everhart move to a new town, where Joanna notices that the women are all like clones of each other - vapid, obsessed with pleasing their husbands, with no personalities of their own. Walter soon gets involved in the local Men's Association much to Joanna's horror, but by the time she realises something is very wrong, it could be too late. I liked this, I'm familiar with the movie but not the book, so the book was a little more reliant on imagination than the visuals used in the movie. I'd have loved some more insight into why the men did what they did.

The D.U.F.F by Kody Keplinger
I had this on my kindle for a while, but it was Paula's review that prompted me to read it. Written when the author was 17, this is the story of 17 year old Bianca, who is told she is the "DUFF" (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) of her peer group by "man whore" Wesley. Bianca and Wesley end up shagging a bit, there's an alcoholic and some bad parenting thrown in to the mix, and more shagging, but overall this was hard to review because there wasn't much of a plot. I've been told that the movie version is different, and I like Mae Whitman, so I'll give it a go - but I wouldn't recommend the book.

EDIT: I watched the movie after typing this post up and it was MUCH better than the book. Bianca and Wesley were more likeable, the storyline was completely different, and it was really witty. Plus, Allison Janney. One of the very rare times that I've preferred the movie to the book!

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
The "Me" of the title is Greg, a 17 year old student who knows this is a book, he has written it. Earl is his slightly unhinged friend who likes to make movies with him. The Dying Girl is their classmate Rachel, who used to be Greg's friend, and who is dying with cancer. Greg's mother forces him to be a good friend to Rachel, so he and Earl decide to make her a movie - The Worst Movie Ever Made. This was everything I look for in a YA book - clever, witty, funny, touching, but not twee and no insta-love. I really liked it.


Normal by Graeme Cameron
Have you ever read a story about a serial killer who kidnaps women, keeps them in his basement, kills other women, and rooted for him not to get caught? Me neither - up until this book. A few chapters in, it became apparent that this was no ordinary thriller, it has a darkly comic element to it which is hard to achieve given the subject matter, but parts of it made me laugh out loud (I felt really bad for laughing) - a very clever thriller.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Alice has a fall in the gym and takes a knock to the head. She is happily married, expecting her first baby (nicknamed "the sultana"), and is 29 years old. Only - she isn't. It's 2008, not 1998. "The Sultana" is now a moody, sullen nine-year-old and has two siblings. Alice's beloved husband isn't speaking to her. Something's funny with her sister, and she has absolutely no idea what has happened over the past ten years. Could it be the best thing that has ever happened to her? Loved this, very enjoyable read, but could be triggering for anyone who has experienced a miscarriage, as there's another person's story told here too and it gets very emotional.

Wonder by RJ Palacio
Wonder is the story of August (Augie), who was born with a severe facial deformity. Home-schooled up to the age of ten, it's time for Augie to join children his own age at school. Told from several points of view, this is heartwarming and a lesson in how to treat others and how your behaviour can affect others. I passed this on to my 10 year old and he devoured it, this should be compulsory reading in schools.


Beautiful Ever After by Katie Piper
Katie's second book, focusing on her move away from home after her recovery from her acid attack. I picked this up by accident - I thought it was her first book, but I'm glad I got this one instead, because it was addictive reading, I wanted Katie to find happiness so badly, I cried at some of the stories about her feeling lonely and trying to find someone to spend her life with. Those of you who follow Katie on social media will know how this ends - but it's a very worthwhile read.

Books to Review

Together Apart by Natalie Martin
Adam and Sarah are blissfully happy - until Adam proposes to Sarah and she says no. What follows is the revelation that Sarah has a deep, dark secret in her past that she is afraid Adam will find out. Written from both Sarah and Adam's points of view, with some of Sarah's old diaries thrown in, this was okay. I found bits of it very disturbing, and the overall "big secret" to be in bad taste, but I suppose things like this do happen - I didn't like either of the main characters, I did feel sorry for Sarah, but I wondered why she had never revealed her secret before. I was granted a request to read this via Netgalley.


I read three other books on kindle during May:

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce
I read the prequel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry last month, so I was eager to read Queenie's side of the story while she waited for her old friend Harold Fry to walk from one end of the country to the other in order to "save" her from dying of cancer by giving her something to look forward to. While I did enjoy it, I thought the route taken was a little disappointing given the lack of a romantic element in the first book. I couldn't say I liked Queenie all that much - but I loved the present-day setting of the nursing home and all the great characters there. There is a twist near the end that made me want to fling this out the nearest window, but apart from that it was enjoyable and Rachel Joyce is an excellent storyteller.

The Lie by C.L. Taylor
The tale of a girls' holiday gone wrong - reminiscent of The Beach or  Brokedown Palace, this is about a group of four friends who go on a holiday to Nepal. Something horrific happens and only two return - Emma and Al. Five years later, Emma is now living under an assumed name and working at an animal sanctuary. Nobody knows about her past, not even her boyfriend. But someone does - and they're going to awfully great lengths to get Emma's attention... this flits back and forth between the present day and the holiday. I really, really enjoyed the parts set in Nepal, but the present-day stuff fell flat for me. While I could deal with parts that were far-fetched, some of it just reached ridiculous heights. As I said in my Goodreads review, if Simon Cowell himself had appeared in front of Emma with a knife I wouldn't have batted an eyelid. The conclusion was rushed and not explained well, but it was still a page-turner and I'd recommend it if you're looking for a thriller that will keep you reading.

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Nick and Dara are sisters with less than a year in age between them. One night, there's a car accident that tears the girls apart. Something is bubbling under the surface, what came between the girls? What caused the accident? This is a thriller, but a very Point-Horror one. Not necessarily a bad thing, but this premise has been done so many times that I guessed the twist just after halfway. Lauren Oliver is a very skilled writer, and I adored the setting of the amusement park - but it's just not a new concept anymore and therefore was a bit predictable. Still very much worth a read, but don't expect anything groundbreaking.

And that's it! Spot anything you like? Read anything great lately?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Extreme Space Saving: DVD Storage


Space is a huge issue in our house - we have a three bedroom house, there are five of us, and I have an awful lot of stuff.

I saw this on Pinterest from Eat Sleep Decorate a while ago - I was so taken with the idea that I mentioned it in this post a few weeks ago.

I've been buying DVDs for over 14 years now - every so often I have a clearout but I'm still left with hundreds of movies and loads of boxsets that I really don't want to get rid of. BUT. They take up so much space, and I can never find what I'm looking for. Sometimes a movie I haven't seen in ages will pop into my head and by the time I find it, I can't be arsed watching it. When I saw this idea, I immediately ordered some blank cases on eBay. I used this seller, and bought 300 clear cases. There are loads of other sellers with the same products, and if you're willing to wait a few weeks, you can get them much cheaper from Hong Kong. 

I made a template from a piece of card and used it as a guide to cut the DVD covers down to size, then I traced around it making sure to get the title of the movie within the square. I had serious fun doing this - cutting stuff out was one of my main pastimes as a child (my Mam's friend used to give my sister and I all her Vogue and Cosmopolitan magazines to chop up). I don't know how I managed to NOT take any pictures of this process - but you'll know what I mean. 

Here's the difference between the entire six seasons of Dawson's Creek in original packaging vs all six split up into plastic cases (two discs to a case, but they'd take three at a very tight squeeze)

I bought a twin pack of storage baskets in Penneys for €8 (it had one big one and one smaller one) and another basket from Heatons for €5. I did almost 200 single movies, 60+ children's movies, and seasons 1-7 of Buffy, 1-6 of Dawson's Creek and Season 1 of Gilmore Girls before I ran out of covers - one basket for movies, one basket for children's stuff, and one basket for TV. 

I arranged the movies in alphabetical order, I didn't bother with the dividers - to make it easier, I just laid them out in piles on the table as I was going along - for example I'd put Mean Girls and Mermaids in the M pile, or The Blind Side and Beetlejuice for the B pile. It meant I could just pick the piles up and stack them one after another starting with numbers, right up to Z. 

I threw out all the plastic covers, my husband kept asking me if I'd regret destroying the proper cases but you know what, I can't afford to get sentimental about a load of plastic tat when it saves this much space. Seriously. I filled three huge black bin liners with cases and boxes - the amount of empty space they were taking up was unreal. I am unsure what to do with some of my big box sets like Ally McBeal, The X Files or Friends - they're already boxed so I might just leave them, but all the rest will be getting the same treatment when I order more sleeves. "But they'll be worth money some day" says husband - that is how people end up on Hoarders (he thinks everything will be worth money some day, I should make him read that Beanie Baby book). I will cry over my lost millions if DVD boxes suddenly shoot up in value - for now - I HAVE SPACE!! 

I genuinely can't believe that the entire household DVD collection fits into one corner of a press now, it's amazing!! 

After this picture, I decided I wanted to do the dividers, so I used some small envelopes and printed out some alphabet printables because I couldn't find my label maker (sadface). I put double sided tape onto the letters and cut them out. 

I cut the envelopes either side of the sticker to make it easier to see the letters.

I also wrote the names of the movies in each section on the envelope, that way I know what's there at a glance. 

I'm so tempted to do the CDs next......