Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Dublin, Ireland.

My boyfriend and I are going to Stockholm, Sweden at the end of next month, but I wanted to go away for my birthday (20th January) as well. I didn't want to go somewhere further than Stockholm because I didn't want it overshadowing my first 'proper' holiday, but I still wanted to go away, so when we found affordable flights to Dublin, we decided to book a long weekend away.

I found £47 returns and booked them directly through Ryan Air. I could've got them cheaper, but much preferred the times of the ones I'd chosen.

After looking at a fair few hotels, I decided on the Holiday Inn Express on O'Connell Street, which is one of the main streets in the city's centre. I booked through Expedia, and it averaged out as around £100 a night/£50 per person. I would definitely recommend this hotel. The decor was modern and not drab in any way, they were able to supply us with any toiletries we needed free of charge, and the free breakfast was absolutely delicious. Full English, croissants, muffins, cereal, fruit, yoghurt, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, apple/orange juice; they had more than enough to choose from. I also liked that you were able to take food/drinks on the go, so we didn't start our days off with freezing hands. Also, a section of the mirror in the bathroom stayed clear when you showered, instead of steaming up. Great idea.

On our first full day in Ireland (my birthday), we decided to do the Collins Day Tour of the Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough, and Kilkenny, which you can find and read the reviews on Trip Advisor here. We got on a coach with 15-20 other people around 8:30 in the morning, and headed out of Dublin towards Glendalough and the Wicklow Mountains. Our tour guide was very informative and funny, and I would recommend this tour if you're ever in Dublin. We then headed towards the town of Kilkenny, which was about two hours away. We spent a few hours there, before heading back towards Dublin, arriving around 6pm. You could decide to meet up with the tour guide during the time in Kilkenny and have a mini tour of the town, but we decided to do our own thing. We couldn't decide on where to eat, so we settled on Willoughby's cafe, where I had the most delicious white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake. The huge slice was definitely worth the €3.95 paid. 

On our second, and last, full day, we did the Guinness tour in the morning, then wondered around the city and shopped a bit for the rest of the day. I bought the tickets through Tripadvisor here, which meant we could arrive any time we wanted and skip the lines. We decided to go as it was opening, so it was quiet. I'm not particularly a fan of Guinness, but I still found the self guided tour interesting, and learnt my fair share of facts. Our leisurely stroll and drink at the top, looking out at the city views from the glass room, took us close to two hours.

For lunch, we went to Bunsen, a burger place which is HIGHLY rated. We tried to get in the evening before, but had no such luck because it was so busy, but we were seated straight away this time, which still surprised me because it was a Saturday. The menu is the tiniest, simplest one I've come across, consisting of two types of burger and a few options of fries. What I liked is that they ask you how well done you would like your burger. I don't know if I preferred it over Five Guys, but it was still up there.

After hours of walking, we went to Smokin Bones for tea; a place we'd randomly walked past earlier in the day. It's a cool American BBQ joint, but didn't look to be too touristy. I had the BBQ pulled pork sandwich, a (free) side of mac n cheese, and a soda, and this came to around €11. 

Another place I'd recommend to eat is Murray's Bar and Grill, which is just next to the hotel. Quite traditional in its decor, with a casual, cosy feel. I ordered the lasagne, while Sam ordered the ribs, and I was expecting them to look a lot less put together than they were. I was pleasantly surprised, and they were reasonably priced.

Dublin is such a big city that I'd like to go back for another few days and explore some more. I'd like to see the Cliffs of Moher, and visit Phoenix park. I didn't think I'd feel very comfortable walking around and dining in such a large city with so many people, but I quickly adapted and would definitely like to go back.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Lush Christmas Picks

It's that time of year again. The Christmas Lush products are back for a few glorious months. I have showers instead of baths, so can't use many of the products, but there's still some real gems I'm going to stock up on.

As soon as I found out there was going to be a Snow Fairy Body Conditioner, I knew I would love it. The Ro's Argan Body Conditioner is one of my favourite products from Lush, so to have it in a sweet candyfloss scent is great. Generally, I prefer fruity scents over others (can you imagine a mango body conditioner?!), but I'm still a fan of the Snow Fairy range. Plus, this is pink, sparkly, and cheaper than Ro's Argan (£13.95), so I'm definitely going to be buying a couple more pots.

I'd yet to buy a Lush lip scrub because, let's face it, they're overpriced (£5.75 for this one), glorified pots of sugar. Buttt, I was in the mood to shop, and Sugar Plum Fairy Lip Scrub smells incredible, so I caved. It smells similar to The Comforter because of the sweet blackcurrant scent. I won't be buying another, but I'm enjoying using it nonetheless.

What Christmas products from Lush have you picked up? I wait until the sale to buy Snow Fairy shower gel, and have only just gotten around to using a big bottle from last year, so I've refrained from purchasing that. I may just have to buy a chunk of Baked Alaska and Reindeer Rock, though, despite having a handle of Lush soaps already wrapped up in my basket!

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

New Shades of Old Faves

Don't you love it when you find new shades of a product you love? That's happened on two occasions recently. Both of the products above were featured in my 2015 favourites, and I may even like these new shades of them more.

The first is the Topshop Glow Cream Highlighter. I've had Polish, which is a pearlescent cream shade with a pink iridescence, for a while, and it's one of my favourite highlighters. I've wanted the warmer, golden shade, Gleam, for many months, but it's been absent from my local store every time I've gone in there. I was in luck this week, though, and it's more beautiful than I thought. It's not as dark as other swatches look, so it's well suited to my pale complexion, especially once blended out.

The other is Rimmel's The Only One Lipstick. Naughty Nude has been a staple of mine, despite it being more of a pink than a nude. The wear and staying power of this line is great. Then, the other day, I spotted Mauve-Ment, a lighter, nuder version of Naughty Nude. I've been wearing this every day since I bought it, with Rimmel's Exaggerate Lip Liner in Addiction underneath. They're the perfect pair.

Left to right: Topshop Glow Cream Highlighter in Polish, Topshop Glow Cream Highlighter in Gleam, Rimmel The Only One Lipstick in Naughty Nude, and Rimmel The Only One Lipstick in Mauve-Ment.

If you have either of these, let me know your thoughts. I'd also be interested to hear what products you have multiple shades of because the formulas are just so good.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

The Product Saving My Sore, Dry Lips

I had never suffered with overly dry lips before last month. Then things started to change, and I thought it was because I'd been using lip liners nearly every day for the last few months, despite always using a lip balm before bed and applying any lip colour. I started increasing the amount I was using my trusty Blistex Intensive Moisturiser, but even that wasn't doing much. The skin around my lips also started to become sore and dry, and I tried multiple products, but they only helped a little. I even tried the cream version of the product below, but the texture isn't suitable for lips, and it's not as long lasting. So, about a week ago, I began applying Epaderm ointment to them at night, and once or twice during the day, and they're back to normal.

Epaderm ointment is an emollient for eczema, psoriasis, and other dry skin conditions. It's fragrance, colour, and SLS free, and can be applied anywhere to the body. The smallest tub is 125g/£6.89, so if you're only applying it to small areas, it's going to last a long, long time. I've scooped some out and put it in a little pot to make it more convenient to use/travel with.

If you suffer from dry, chapped lips, I'd recommend giving this a try. And if you've suffered with these symptoms in the past, I'd love to know what you've used to help them.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Changing The Colour and Finish Of My Foundation

My two main concerns when buying a foundation have always been the colour and finish it provides. How it would wear, and for how long, would come after. However, that's changed in recent months. As long as the formula of the foundation is good, I don't mind if it's a shade too dark, or not as luminous as I'd like. This is because I now have products to help with these.

NYX has just brought out these Pro Foundation Mixers (£7.50), and they actually have less expensive dupes of the next two products, but these weren't available when I was in need of them. The Pro Foundation Mixer I have is in Luminous, which is a pale champagne shade with teeny tiny gold shimmer particles. Once mixed in with your foundation and blended out, you're left with, as the name suggests, a luminous finish.

I've been using the Soap & Glory Hocus Focus Illuminator (£11) in my foundation for a couple months now, and it's very similar to the Opal shade of the NYX Pro Foundation Mixer. It has that pearly finish, which gives you a more natural glow.

I've raved and raved about The Body Shop Shade Adjusting Lightening Drops (£10), and because there wasn't anything like them on the cheaper end of the market, I bought an extra bottle. I didn't need to because NYX now has its own version with double the amount of product in, but it doesn't take away from what this product does. Not only do I use this to lighten any foundations that are slightly too dark for me, but I'll add a drop when concealing around my eyes, just to brighten the area.

Not only am I now able to get the exact shade and finish I want, it makes my foundations go further. If there's any illuminators you swear by, let me know. I've just bought the Gleam shade by NYX, but I'm looking for some other warm/golden ones!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Finishing Products and Hitting Pan

(This little blog turned seven this week! *celebratory dance*)

I try to not include products I've finished before in these types of posts, but it gets harder the more you find things you absolutely love and don't wish to change. Still, I've managed to do it this time... I think.

I've spoken about the Garnier Ultimate Blends Strength Restorer shampoo and conditioner before, which I really like, but I think I may prefer the Sleek Restorer ones. Like the name suggests, they leave your hair sleek and super soft, and unlike the Tresemme Platinum Strength ones, I can continually use these without my hair becoming weighed down.

I think this may be the first foundation I've fully finished. It's the L'Oreal Infallible 24H Foundation in Porcelain. I haven't used this on a regular basis for a while actually, but I remember liking it. It was full coverage, didn't look cakey or cling to places it shouldn't, and the biggest plus was how pale it was. I use The Body Shop Shade Adjusting Lightening Drops to alter the shades of my foundations now, so the colour isn't too important, but back when I didn't have them, this was my go-to shade.

Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Hand Food is one of the best hand creams I've used, along with the L'Occitane ones. It just seems to have a lasting effect, whereas others, although I still like them, are quickly forgotten by my skin. The Sugar Crush scent is my favourite as well, and I'm so glad you can now buy it individually.

I don't know how I didn't wear lip liner up until a few months ago. It makes such a difference. The Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Addiction is the first one I've finished, and have already bought another because it's a staple. It's a nude pink, leaning more towards nude, and it's the kind of colour I've been wearing a lot recently. It's creamy, pigmented, lasts all day, doesn't need sharpening, and is just £3.99.

I can't believe I've finished a serum, but I have. The Garnier Ultimate Blends Strength Restorer Serum was a joy to use. It smelt good, and it made my hair more sleek and soft, without ever looking greasy.

I didn't need any more shower gel, but how could I resist the I Love... Mango Cheesecake one? Mango cheesecake! It smelt delicious, and was only £2.99 for 500ml.

I haven't finished these next products, but hitting pan is a big accomplishment. I actually took the photo above a couple weeks ago, so the NYX HD Blush in Taupe is on its last legs, and I have another waiting to go. It's a great contour shade for pale skinned girls, and I prefer the new formula.

I bought Illamasqua's Cream Blusher in Zygomatic during one of their sales for £5-6 instead of £22, and oh man, it's my favourite blush. It's a nude pink, and one you can't go wrong with. I think I even love it more than NYX's Cream Blush in Natural, which was my favourite for years.

I have far too many eyebrow products, but I've only been using Freedom's Pro Brow Pomade in Soft Brown for the last couple of months. It's practically the same as the Anastasia Beverly Hills one, but £5 instead of £15.

Let me know if you've tried any of these products. I'm interested to know your thoughts on them!

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