The Exam Vacuum

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Good afternoon folks. As most of you probably know, we’re definitely in the midst of exam season and, as such, I thought I’d write a quick post to apologise for the lack of blogging both this week and in advance of next week. I will try to squeeze in a post or two where I can but, unfortunately, exams do have to take priority. As much as I love blogging, sometimes learning about trustees’ duties or crime data analysis just has to come first. Sigh. But I promise, after the 9th of May, ordinary blog business shall resume!

Another thing that kind of prevents me from blogging during exams is the fact that I’m sitting in the house all day everyday, buying no products and wearing no make-up. I mean, I could write a post about the lip balm I’ve been sporting within the confines of my bedroom but I don’t think that would really appeal to anyone. On the upside, my skin and hair are having a much-needed¬†siesta from make-up and heat styling while I sit at home looking like death warmed up. Silver linings, eh?

A few little things are helping get me through study week though, one of which is (as the photograph suggests) chocolate. I’m something of a stress eater and chocolate is my go-to soother. I’m trying to eat healthy-ish meals and rein in any other snacking though, as I really don’t want to end up the size of a house! My dad bought me three huge Galaxy bars and my mum brought home some Dairy Milk so hopefully my stress levels won’t be through the roof come Friday week! My skin might not thank me but, hey ho, I have the rest of the summer to detox.

Another little comfort is watching Made in Chelsea; thanks to Sky boxsets I’m all up to date. When I’m studying all day everyday, the last thing I want is to watch something taxing while I’m eating dinner. MIC is perfect non-brain food, and I’m continually obsessing over Lucy Watson’s perfect skin. As for poor Binky, lyk if yhu cryd ūüė¶

To help get me through these testing times, I’ve started browsing Lvndr, the online jewellery venture launched late last year by blogger Emtalks. Her products are absolutely lovely; so cute, and incredibly affordable, which I wasn’t expecting. In particular, I’ve got my eye on the rose gold giraffe pendant, the halo necklace¬†and the squared rings. I’m very tempted to place a little order that, hopefully will arrive just as my exams are finished, as a little from-me-to-me treat.

I’m also trying to squeeze in some househunting for September, as it has become blatantly clear that this commuting lark is getting me nowhere. Cross your fingers for me folks, and light me a candle. The Dublin rental market is ridiculously overcrowded and the chances of bagging an affordable room somewhere near college are growing slimmer by the day. Hopefully, I’ll get a luck break in the form of somebody actually replying to one of my emails…

So that’s about the height of my activity this week. As promised, I will try to blog where possible but if I can’t, I promise I’ll be back with a bang before you know it. And good luck to my fellow students – if your situation is in any way as dire as mine, you’ll need it too!

Em X

PS Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter¬†and Bloglovin’!

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Bonobos ‘The Grind Giveaway’

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This post is going to deviate a little from the norm for me, but for good reason, particularly for readers based in the US and Australia! The New York-based menswear brand Bonobos is holding a huge giveaway, ‘The Grind Giveaway’, where¬†one lucky fella will win over $1,500 worth of stylish, practical workwear to take you from one end of the week to the next. Speaking as a woman, a well-dressed man just oozes sophistication and professionalism. And that, after all, is exactly what you want to portray at the office.

Bonobos is something of a new-generation shopping experience for men. Launched in 2007 and solely online, it has become the States’ largest ever online clothing brand. In 2011, they opened their offline ‘Bonobos Guideshops’, where customers could sample garments in a personalised, one-to-one setting before ordering online. Then in 2012, Bonobos began collaborating with Nordstrom to expand their distribution even more. Making their name with impeccable fitting, as well as ‘an innovative shopping experience and an energetic brand spirit’, they’ve been featured as¬†“One of America‚Äôs Hottest Brands” by Advertising Age, “Best Men‚Äôs Pants” by New York Magazine, one of Inc. Magazine‚Äôs “20 Awesome Facebook Pages” and was awarded Crain‚Äôs “Best Places to Work in New York City”.¬†Quite high praise, I think you might agree!

For a free entry to the giveaway, all you have to do is enter an email address here¬†during the Sweepstakes Entry Period (open until 4th of May). It really is that easy. Whether you’re a guy who really needs his workwear sprucing up, or a lady with her man in mind, it really is incredibly simple.

And I’m sure you’re all wondering just what ‘The Grind Giveaway’ consists of? The prize includes a Foundation Suit, five Weekday Warrior Pants¬†(non-iron,¬†by the way) and five Daily Grind dress shirts; all the elements you need for your working week. Here are some photographs of the various elements of the prize, just to tempt you even more! And for browsing, do have a look at Bonobos.com!

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This is a really great prize for those of you living Stateside or in Oz. Get entering quickly, as the giveaway ends on Sunday!

Em X

*I was approached by Bonobos to write this post. Whether I am writing on my own behalf or in conjunction with a company, my opinions remain expressly my own*

April Beauty Favourites

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Good evening bloggers! Here’s a little round-up of my favourite beauty and skincare products for April. I’m a little early, but next week I’ll be in manic study mode, so I’ll be too busy watching Made in Chelsea to write this post – it’s a big one!

Starting with skincare, and I’ve really been loving my¬†Nuxe R√™ve de Miel¬†Ultra-Nourishing¬†lip balm. My lips always seem to be chapped, regardless of the weather or how much Vaseline I lash on fifteen times a day. But since I started using this, in conjunction with my Lush Mint Julips Scrub, my lips have been very content. I can go a full day now without feeling the need to put something on them, ¬†until I go to bed and apply a layer of Nuxe before I sleep. The flakes and tightness are gone, and it tastes like lemon sherbert. Happy days.

Another little wonder product I’ve been enjoying is my Burt’s Bees Almond and Milk Hand Cream, which I reviewed in detail not too long ago. This is a gorgeous little jar to keep on your bedside table, and to apply liberally at night. I use this every evening before bed and my red, tight hands are so much softer and smoother. My waitressing job can be hell for my hands but this really calms and moisturises them. This will definitely be a lifesaver in winter, and the almond scent is absolutely divine.

My skin has also been thanking me this month for my Av√®ne Soothing and Hydrating Serum, which I bought during the Escentual French Pharmacy sale. At first, I didn’t really know how this was benefiting my skin, if at all. It’s a light, water-based serum designed to inject moisture into the skin without being heavy or greasy, which it definitely does. But after a month of twice-daily use, my skin always feels hydrated and looks a little plumper, which is quite something considering how the college work has been piling up. It’s a lovely extra step in my skincare routine as it’s so cooling, which I can see being a bonus during the summer. The little glass bottle is also very pretty, and the pump dispenses the perfect amount for my face. An indispensable part of my routine.

Then we have something of an unsung hero in my skincare arsenal, my La Roche-Posay¬†Effaclar Astringent Lotion. A run-in with an Av√®ne moisturiser that my skin didn’t get on with left me with a bumpy, clogged,¬†patchy complexion within a matter of days. That, coupled with PMS, left my skin in an utter state. I was at a bit of a loss as to how to fix it, until I remembered this toner. This is, obviously, quite astringent and tends to aggravate the dry patches either side of my nose, so I only used it when I cleanse after make-up. But my skin was in dire straits, so I’ve been using it twice a day without fail (avoiding dry patches) and those bumps are decongesting¬†very nicely. My make-up is applying much better already and overall, things are getting back to normal. I won’t underestimate this little power lotion again.

Since I bought it, I’ve been wearing my Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey everyday. It is, as it happens, the perfect scent for the transition into summer time. It’s fresh and light, not at all cloying or sickly. I really enjoy wearing this, and I’ll even pop it on when I’m sitting at home studying, as a mood booster. I think I’ve sung its praises quite a lot already, but to me, it is¬†that¬†good.

Turning to cosmetics, and an unexpected make-up bag staple for me is definitely the Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream. Like many other beauty bloggers, I was pleasantly taken by surprise by how great this product is. In fact, it’s become my base of choice these days, with a slick of concealer and a little powder on top. The difference it makes to the complexion has to be seen to be believed; I never thought I’d be content wearing only a CC Cream instead of foundation, but there you are. I’ve also managed to make it work with my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, so by that logic, it’s even morevalue for money.¬†Buy it, I’m telling you!

Then, of course, I couldn’t write an April Favourites post without mentioning the beautiful Chanel Perfection Lumi√®re Velvet foundation. As you may recall, I had my issues with this foundation initially. But I’ve figured out how to make it work and, with my skin clearing up, I’m loving it even more. To be honest, I think a lot of the enjoyment I get from this is down to the fact that it’s Chanel, which just screams luxury (even though their cosmetics are not actually the most expensive on the market). Wearing it just feels so luxe (i.e. fancy-pants). Then there’s that stunning velvet finish that I can’t see any other base delivering. This is a treat foundation; not for everyday, but when I do allow myself to wear it, I feel fantastic. And that, after all, is the entire point of make-up.

Which products have you been loving this past month?

Em X

PS Don’t forget to follow me on¬†Twitter¬†and¬†Bloglovin’!

Chanel Perfection Lumi√®re Velvet

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I was so excited when I made my mind up to buy this foundation. Oh my, I nearly ran into Brown Thomas, purse in hand, ready to pounce on it. And when I finally got my hands on it, I couldn’t help constantly taking it out of the bag on the train home, just looking at it. But I wouldn’t let myself open it until I got home, because trains are manky and there was no way I was going to let it be tarnished by someone’s flu germs hanging around since January. No way, Jos√©.

¬†Perfection Lumi√®re Velvet is¬†¬†possibly Chanel’s most hyped new release this year so far. Replacing Mat Lumi√®re Perfection (which admittedly never seemed to be as popular as the likes of Vitalumi√®re Aqua anyway), PLV was released to warm praise from most beauty bloggers. Having read multiple reviews before I purchased it (I don’t spend ‚ā¨40 on just anything, you know!), I was really excited to see just how lovely it really was. And of course, that sleek black bottle with the minimalist white embellishment is just sooo tempting – as was the prospect of my first Chanel purchase.

As I mentioned earlier this week, my first time wearing PLV was actually courtesy of a Chanel MUA when I bought it. As lovely as that was, there’s nothing a beauty blogger loves better than getting to grips with a new product, so I couldn’t wait to try it out for myself.

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The shade I went for was Beige 10; the palest shade in the (somewhat limited) range. It’s quite warm-toned, which is perfect for my skintone. The little plastic bottle might not seem incredibly luxurious, but it’s actually quite handy as you can squeeze the perfect amount out of the little nozzle. Also, it’s very portable; no need to worry about glass bottles shattering in your bag. And anyway, I still think it looks chic.

Chanel states that PLV is a lightweight, ‘second skin’ foundation that evens out the complexion with a velvety matte finish. It claims to maintain radiance all day, diminish irregularities, smooth pores, reduce redness, even out dark spots… you get the picture. By the sounds of it, it’s a wonder product. Initially I was applying this with my fingers, as it is quite a runny formula, albeit nicely pigmented. But my skin is really acting up lately (more on that another time), and I just was not happy with the result. The finish was nice, but the texture of the skin on my cheeks looked awful, and my blush was patchy on top of the foundation. I didn’t give up hope though; last night I stuck on my Cosmetic Warrior face mask, and today things were looking a bit smoother. So far, so good.

One purchase I made a little while ago that’s been languishing in my make-up bag ever since is my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush. I could not make this brush work for me; rather than buffing the foundation into my skin, it just made it sit on top of my skin and settle into my pores. I had given it up as a bad job, but today it got another outing as I tried to create something good with my PLV. Lo and behold, the finish was smoother, more airbrushed and more pigmented. Hallelujah.

I will admit to cheating slightly; PLV simply does not provide full enough coverage to conceal my red nose. It’s not a full coverage foundation, and it was never meant to be one. So between primer and PLV, I dabbed some Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream on my nose and chin. My skintone now looked even, despite the fact that this was not down to the PLV.

Here is my full make-up look; reservations aside, I’m really pleased with the overall effect.

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The finish of PLV is undeniably beautiful and radiant. It brings a lovely luminosity to the skin, and the velvety texture is wonderful. The lasting power is pretty good, and my skin never feels clogged or oily while wearing it – the ‘second skin’ claims are true, in that regard. Now of course, I am wearing concealer, powder, blush etc. in the photograph; PLV is not enough on its own to cover my blemishes. Again, I didn’t expect it to. Still, it is worth noting, as it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself in for when you’re spending a lot on a foundation. Also, this foundation is heavily perfumed – not something that I mind, but many people aren’t so keen. The scent does not linger though.

Overall, my conclusion is a little mixed. PLV does not live up to all of its claims. The texture is lovely, it is very lightweight, it is longlasting, it does smooth pores (very well), and it makes my skin look really radiant. But it is by no means perfect – it’s not matte in the truest sense (oiliness will peek through), it does not cover redness, the coverage is not amazing, and dark spots are only concealed to a certain degree. Also, it will cling for dear life to dry patches, so a good skincare regime is pretty vital.

All of that being said, I do still really like it. A lot of the negative points I’ve mentioned are admittedly down to the fact that it is a sheer foundation. It was never going to cover every little blemish. And what it does do, it does really well. All in all, this isn’t a foundation I can just throw on, it takes a little more work to create a flawless finish. But this is not a foundation I intend to wear everyday, it’s a special occasion base to be used when I have the time to make it work. Put simply, I can’t afford to use it everyday, so I’ll take my time over it when I am wearing it.

Have you tried Perfection Lumière Velvet yet?

Em X

PS: I’m still in essay mode.¬†Apologies for the long-windedness. And don’t forget to follow me on¬†Twitter¬†and¬†Bloglovin’!

The one, the only, MAC Ruby Woo.

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As you may recall, a couple of days ago, I got a bit spend-happy, and the infamous MAC Ruby Woo lipstick ¬†(‚ā¨19) was introduced to my make-up collection. For some women, red lipstick is an indispensible aspect of their make-up routine; for others, it’s more of an afterthought on the odd occasion. I fall somewhere in between the two; I often forget to wear lipstick, but then I’ll go through a phase of wearing it nearly everyday. But wherever you stand on the red lipstick front, there’s no denying how it can pull a casual look together and brighten a tired face.

MAC’s Ruby Woo is probably one of the most famous red lipsticks out there right now,. It’s a classic blue-toned red that suits every complexion I’ve seen wearing it. It’s classy and dramatic, but there is also something effortless about it. I already own the Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss lipstick in 01, another standard red. But Ruby Woo feels far more sophisticated, in an ‘old Hollywood starlet’ kind of way.

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The packaging of Ruby Woo is the classic MAC black and silver casing, and there is a very definite whiff of vanilla when you open the tube. I don’t mind the scent, but I don’t really think it’s necessary either. My only other MAC lipstick, a Cremesheen called Hang Up, has the same scent.

The texture is one which tends to alienate people. It is a Retro Matte finish lipstick; there is not a hint of glossiness or slip on the lips. While I don’t feel as though lipliner is 100% necessary before applying it, it’s not simply a case of slicking it on and running out the door. Ruby Woo takes a little more time and precision. But in return, you get a precise, bold lip that is eye-catching and really flattering.

These days I’m under self-imposed house arrest as I have exams looming, but today I had to nip down town for a bit. Any excuse!
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The finish is, of course, very matte and very bold. I definitely recommend making use of a good lip scrub and applying a thin layer of nourishing lip balm (I’m loving Nuxe R√™ve de Miel) before applying Ruby Woo, to avoid any little flakes or patches showing through. Being a matte, it’s not going to nourish or hydrate the lips. However, while it’s not drying in itself, any pre-existing hint of dryness in your lips will make Ruby Woo uncomfortable to wear.

Ruby Woo is really pigmented and as soon as it was on, I felt like it wasn’t going to budge. And sure enough, the lasting power is very good. Of course, a touch-up is needed after eating, but not to the extent that you’d be dashing to the bathroom to fill in that ring of colour left on your lips after your lunch. I would be confident in wearing it all day, knowing that it won’t be halfway down my chin by 4pm.¬†And on the flipside of that, I pleasantly discovered that it removes like a dream; one swipe of some micellar water on a cotton pad, and it’s gone! (I feel like Barry Scott).

Ruby Woo is definitely a great cosmetic investment. Every woman needs a bold, sexy red lipstick that she can whip out when she feels in need of a boost. My skin is doing an absolute number on me these days; I’ve been changing my skincare routine around a little, and now my skin is spotty and bumpy again, and my make-up is clinging on for dear life to my rough patches. But when I put on Ruby Woo, those niggly little bits seemed far less obvious and I felt way more confident in my appearance. If one little lipstick can do that, then I consider it money well spent.

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Have you tried MAC lipsticks? Do you like Ruby Woo?

Em X

PS Don’t forget to follow me on¬†Twitter¬†and¬†Bloglovin’!