Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Clarisonic Mia - is it really worth it?

Reviewing products like this is precisely why I got into blogging. The Clarisonic has received so much hype, everyone just laaaaaves it, it's so uhmazing etc etc. When researching the product though, I wondered how much of that is
 a) PR fuelled hype - I got my expensive product for free so I'm gonna say great things about it or
 b) all the cool kids think it's fantastic so I'm gonna say it's great too. 

I felt the need to be something of a Penn and Teller 'Bullshit' (if you haven't seen it I'd highly recommend it) of the blogging world, or 'Mythbusters' if we're looking for a analogy with less cursing in it's title. With that in mind, here's my review of the Clarisonic Mia, grab a cuppa for this one, there's a tale or two to be told.

So, a few months ago P.Diddy was very generous and although gently guided, bought me the perfect gift, the pink Clarisonic Mia that I'd had my eye on for a while.

My reasons for wanting this were:
  •  my sister told me she knows a lady in her 40's who swears by it and looks around 20. No, no, this is clearly nothing to do with genetics, the Clarisonic and the Clarisonic only will be my savior.
  • the skin on my face is an arse, and a spotty one at that. It's waited until my late 20's to go through puberty. Hurrah!
  • I'm a sucker for a fad
  • It comes in pink

Bolstered by all of those very valid reasons, I was delirah when I opened the box to see my shiny new gadget that was going to completely change my genetic, hormonal make up.

For those of you who mightn't be over familiar with what the Clarisonic actually does, it cleanses and exfoliates your face by using small sonic pulses through it's rotating brush. My Clarisonic is a later model and has a built in timer that beeps after 10 seconds to indicate moving on to the next area of the face. The brush then turns itself off after a minute to prevent overuse. 

Back to my reviews... well, like a kid with a new toy at Christmas, I went hell for leather with my Clarisonic. I used it day and night for a week. My skin felt as smooth as a babies backside. It really was fabulous. I'd catch myself unconsciously stroking my marble smooth face during the day. That was until disaster struck and my face began to resemble  a babies bum - the nappy rash kind. Yep, that wasn't really part of the plan.I was getting massive break outs on my chin and I couldn't understand why. That was until I remembered something that had happened to me last year.

 In ye olde Summer of 2013 I'd taken to using a facewash with microbeads in it to cleanse my face morning and night. I thought the microbeads would scrub all traces of spots away. It had the opposite effect on my skin. Instead of making it  cleaner and clearer (as was implied by the brand name) ,it was making it spottier and em.. unclearer. It was explained to me that over exfoliating the face can leave the skin susceptible to spots as it's stripping of a protective layer and causing the cells to work too hard to regenerate themselves.

 I had a disappointing light bulb moment when I realized that this is what must be happening to me with my Clarisonic. I'd suffered temporary amnesia and forgotten that little nugget of information. I used the Clarisonic a fair few times last week and now have a whopper amount of spots on my face. One even on the skin /lip border -- how is that even possible? Then I remembered what I shouldn't have forgotten.... ah.

I've now come to view my Clarisonic like I see my Mark Jacobs bag, a 30th birthday present to myself. (I'm very gernerous to myself, aren't I?)  Even though it's really expensive for what it is, I love it. It's not something that I can use everyday but it's not something that will ever go out of style either. There won't be a point where I won't want to use it. It's something that for years to come, despite not using it daily I will still really appreciate it on the days that I do.

In brief the Clarisonic:

makes your skin super smooth
is very fancy
may give you spots from overuse if  you've spot prone skin
won't make you look 20 in your 40's.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Make Up Geek Brushes: Brushes You Need To Know About


Sleep shopping, apparently this is a new thing in my life now. Not that I'm complaining or anything, I just suppose someone would want to let my credit card know

A few months ago I woke up during the middle of the night and no matter how hard I tried, I just wasn't getting back to sleep. I got up and started to browse through YouTube videos. Marlena of The Make Up Geek been one of my long time favourites. I'd been meaning to try out her line of cosmetics and brushes for a while and at 3 am I figured the time is now. In a couple of thumb taps on my phone I was told that the brushes were on their way. Off to sleep I went, only to wake up without a single memory of the whole experience, with the confirmation email bringing all of this back to me at lunch time the next day.

Here's what I bought in my semi alert state:

Bent Liner Brush 

This brush is perfect for applying gel liner. The bent angle of the brush makes it pretty foolproof. I know, foolproof and gel eyeliner don't generally tend to go in the same sentence but honestly, that bent angle takes all of the fiddliness out of applying the eyeliner. Your hands don't have to contort themselves in to all sort of weird angles like some overexcited mime and you can get on with the easy task of following the water line. Being so easy to use means that it's possible to create both very thin and thick dramatic lines.

The Outer V Brush

This brush was designed for applying eyeshadow to the outer v section of the eye, used predominantly in the ubiquitous smokey eye. What I love about this brush is the fact the bristle are quite compact. There's no room to mess with them. I have other angled brushes that are all a bit too fluffy and kinda faff around the job. They leave a trail of loose shadow in their wake. None of that with this brush,  It gets in and gets the job done. 

The Angled Contour Brush

The bristles in this brush aren't the softest, although, that's not to say that they're rough. Like the outer v brush, they're compact and sturdy. Again, I like this. I'm not there to brush a bunny rabbit's tale off my face, I want to apply a bit of bronzer in the hope that I will magically have Angelina Jolie cheekbones. The sturdiness of the brush allows for precise application of the bronzer with no product fall out.

None of the brushes have shed a single hair in the months that I've had them.

I've saved the best bit for last: the price. 

The bent liner brush is $6.99
The outer v brush is $7.99
The angled contour brush is $8.99

Insanely good value for money. Including postage of $9.14 (which took 3 weeks) the whole sleep shopping experience cost me $33.11  approximately €26 , which is a dream (ouch!)  for 3 brushes which I use daily :) 

Monday, October 6, 2014

The cheapest and easiest way to remove Benefit's They're Real mascara

Panda eyes, the sign that you've either had a really great night or a really bad nights sleep. Either way, it's something that you probably don't want to broadcast to the world, well, not on your face anyways.

Despite it's lovely, wonderful, super lengthening, all over fabulousness, Benefit's 'They're Real' mascara is an absolute demon for letting the world know 'I haven't had time to take my eye make up off properly!!'.  Despite taking extra care when removing it, I would still find rings of the mascara under my eyes the next morning , or even worse, magically appearing as if from nowhere on my face half way through the next day. It was nearly enough to turn me off using the it, only keeping it up for big nights out, until I discovered the easiest and cheapest way to remove all traces of the offending product.

Drum roll.................

Boot's own brand eye make-up remover pads. 

 The product itself looks like a throwback from something from communist Russian times and is just as cheap. Billing in at €1.99 or 3 for €4, this stuff is definitely cheaper than chips. Keeping with our communist product theme here, the packaging is about as useful as good sensible shoes. The plastic container is small and compact which makes it ideal for throwing into a make up bag/ bringing on holidays.

While it mightn't be so fancaay, it certainly is effective. One pad will remove all traces of eye makeup including that stubborn They're Real mascara. Not a single black rim to be seen the next morning.

Bleery red eyes? Well now, that might be your own fault ;)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

One Month Water Challenge - It's all over!

And the results are in! I think it's safe to say, One Month Water Challenge nil points! Ah no, that's a little harsh, there have been massive benefits in some areas, but do I look 10 years younger? No. Do I look tired for a Sunday morning? Yes. 

So here it is..

 Left = final pic, Right = 4 weeks ago

How's your skin looking?

Not 10 years younger, that's pretty evident. If I'm being honest with myself, in a very unIrish fashion to speak positively of oneself, I don't really think I'd  many signs of ageing to undo in the first place. I've come to realise that the woman in the original before and after shot ( seen herewas 10 years my senior, which would naturally leave a little more scope for change. I was hoping that ye magical water cure would get rid of some expression lines and the beginnings of some fine lines around the eyes but unfortunately that was not to be the case.
 I've had a couple of breakouts over the last few weeks. Although, I find myself singing that Queens of the Stone Age chorus line 'First they giveth then they taketh  away', every time I look in the mirror because despite the fact that the spots came on quite abruptly, they also went quite quickly too. 

Overall I'm not too unhappy with how my skin looks. I figure that the spots must have been a result of toxins in my system, or hormones or something and sure better out than in. My skin tone has improved, and my skin itself feels more supple and  softer to touch. 

Have there been any major benefits?
There's been a fair few. 
  • although it doesn't look younger, my skin feels better
  • my stomach is far less bloated  and other general bowel related benefits (ew)
  • I've avoided getting sick despite there being many bugs going about
  • I've lost a small bit of weight
  • If I reach for my mid morning snack it's purely out of habit and not because I'm that hungry
  • I've had more energy 
  • I've avoided hangovers

What major challenges have you found this ,month?

Drinking 3 litres of water is a pain in the ringer.

Do you feel any different?

I feel healthier. I wouldn't go all out and say that I feel like a clean living yoga guru but my body feels like it's working better.

Has it been worth it?
 Yes, but I've come to the conclusion that 3 litres of water is just unmanageable. Towards the end it became quite the struggle and I'm not too sure if it's really all that extra beneficial. I've decided that I will continue drinking more water than I used to but I'm going to drink 2 litres a day instead.
 I wonder now how I used to get by for days on just maybe a glass of water and a cup of tea. I really don't know how I was expecting my body to function properly. I think that drinking more water so that my body functions better is going to be more prevention rather than cure for my skin. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Estée Lauder Sculpting Foundation Brush - worth every cent

Last week I was having a pretty crappy week. My skin was in bits and it was all over 'tinternet for everyone to see. (Car crash blogging can be seen here if you fancy a nose.)  As a result, my recent decision to swap over to BB cream was thrown out the window and I came back, tail between legs to my beloved Estée only to discover that I was nearly out of my double wear foundation. Disaster.

I decided to embrace this first world problem as an opportunity to try something new and went into town to try out the Estée Lauder Double Wear Light and it was on that fateful Thursday that I discovered the brush that I will be using for the next forever.

Already at a bit of a low, I was prime target for a bit of impulse buying. It was probably spelt* out in a join the dots fashion on my face. The make up lady produced the Sculpted Foundation Brush to apply the Double Wear Light. My eyes widened with curiosity at it's original shape but it was after she let me have a little play around with it that I was truly sold. Quite simply, it's fantastic.

What I like about the brush:

  •  It makes applying foundation incredibly easy. The sculpted shape blends in nicely to the contours of your face. It doesn't leave any streaks and the corners of the brush get right into awkward areas around the nose.
  • Its much quicker to use than a stippling brush as it doesn't need to be applied in circular motions. It glides over one side of the face in around 6 strokes. 
  • Its angled shape allows it to double up as a contouring brush. 
  • It feels like I'm lifting jowls when I doing it too. Early in the morning, due to it's shape,  I feel like a plasterer masking over a litany of mistakes, without looking like I've plastered the slap on either. It's a very comforting feeling! (that could be just me though..)

Here's the bit that has me slightly shy, one I know P.Diddy would mock me for if he read it. It cost a ridiculous amount. Well, a ridiculous amount for me. It was €47.....em...oops?
I've suitably justified this with the fact that
 a) I needed a new brush, despite being 5 years old my other one would still shed hairs and
 b) I'm going to be using it nearly every day for the next few years.

Sure at that rate it's a bargain!

Check out Estée Lauder's Sculpting Brush at a make up counter near  you or over at this link:
make up brush online

 * I googled that word , spelled  = American, spelt = UK, looks strange written out doesn't it??

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Eco Gel 2 Week Manicure - a word of warning before you considering buying it

Last year my sister and I got the notion that we could do our own shellac nails. We figured how hard could it be? We invested heavily. We went out and got the uv lamp and all of the other paraphernalia that went with it in our local Hairspray. We didn't quite realise just how tedious a process doing your own shellac is and also, just how expensive buying all of the bits and bobs are.
For those who mightn't be in the know,  you need:

a lamp
nail cleaners
a base coat
the nail varnish itself
a top coat
acetone to remove the nails. 

Going through all of those steps at home seems like a very long and drawn out process. A very infuriating long and drawn out process too if at any stage you apply too much of a polish, the whole thing goes on too thick and peels off in a few days. Ever being the bad tradeswoman, I blamed my tools and invested in a good few brands of polish. I would say that one or two were better than others but if I'm being honest, I just don't have the time or patience to apply it myself, especially when I find that I never get a whole two weeks out of the manicure anyways. 

This all in mind, ever the gullable eejit in search of a shortcut, I got very exctied when I saw Eco Gel 2 week Manicure in my local Hairspray.  This stuff claims to be a bit of a one stop shop. Exactly the kind of thing I'd be interested in. Full of hope I decided to investigate. Here's how I got on:

The first nail varnish I bought was the simple '2 week manicure colour gel' for €9.95. According to the site, this is an optional 2 step process and a top coat can be applied. I was pretty impressed by it. Two coats, two shots under the lamp and ta-dah, my nails had a pretty solid looking shellac on them. I found that it wasn't super shiney but that it didn't really need the top coat. It's worth pointing out here that a gel nail cleanser is needed here to remove the tacky residue.
 I wouldn't say that the colour lasted the full two weeks but it definitely lasted a week before it started to chip. It didn't come off in the shower or washing the dishes as I had happen with other diy shellac before. 
The only downside to this varnish was the removing of it. It needs to be removed with acetone and true to form, I didn't have great patience at home for  the whole cotton wool/ tin foil wraps and I ended up picking it off premeturely. No one to blame but myself now for weakened nails.

Pleased with the overall results of my Econails experience I went out to buy another colour. Oddly, the second nail varnish that I tried was a bit confusing, despite its one step process being the most straightforward. I didn't understand why it was €12.95 instead of €9.95 when I went to til to pay until the girl told me that it was a 'one step'  polish. I'd thought the original nail varnish that I'd bought was one step as that's how I'd used it but apparently not. This second 'one step' nail varnish is supposed to be grand without a topcoat (although the other one was too).

So, what do you get for your extra €2.95? Ripped off, that's what. It's absolutely and completely hopeless. The little 'one step' label to the right of the circle would appear to make the world of a difference.

My friend Sarah and I tried it on Thursday. She texted me the next day questioning whether or not she had over active thumbs as it had totally peeled off her thumbnails. I'm glad she texted as I had found earlier that the colour literally peeled off like a sticker from my index fingers. Two days later I've only got nail varnish on 4 of my 10 nails. This time I'm sure it wasn't my impatient skills at fault as Sarah and I bought painted each other's nails only to have the same crappy result.

Would I buy this product again? 
Em... definitely not the 'one step' polish. I feel ripped off it was that awful. If I wanted to put stickers on my nails I would. I'd probably buy the other polish again though as it was handy having it last for a good few days. It would be great for a weekend away.

Would I recommend Econails?
I'd recommend the plain 2 week polish (not the one step) but only to someone who has a lamp already. I've probably spent the equivalent of at least 10 professional shellacs on some overall pretty average results at home.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Someone's not a happy camper. Week 3 results: One Month Water Challenge

Of all weeks, this has been my least favourite. Ya know that dream they all go on about? The one where you walk into a public place in your nip? That's me this week.

I'm gonna just get straight into this one:

Here I am..
I hope for both of our sakes that you're looking at this on a phone and not in full screen mode.

How's your skin looking?
It's in a jock. There's no point in lying about it. I would appear that the challenge has worked a little too well and instead of looking 10 years younger I'm looking a whopping 16 years younger. Hello 15 year old Mary. Ironic thing is, my skin wasn't even that bad during my teenage years. Karma, meet Mary. *gives Karma the finger behind back*
In the interest of being a blog with integrity and not one that's going to say how amazing everything is, I'm gonna hold my hands up and say that this week sucked. My skin has been awful. I had a massive breakout on my chin, one on my forehead (that never happens) and then to top it all off the rest of skin on my face and hands was incredibly dry. Unfortunately, the breakout (although more extreme than normal) isn't out of character for me, the extremely dry skin is however. I'd hazard a guess that it might be due to the very changeable weather this week but that would only be a guess. Maybe it's due to the water, maybe it's not. My gripe  is, if I'm supposed to be so bloody hydrated, shouldn't my skin be prepared for this??

Have there been any major benefits?
I went out on Saturday night. I'd like to say I only had a few drinks but I'd also like not to lie. I had many drinks. Many sugary ones at that, judge me if you will! The next day I didn't have my regular banging headache or sick tummy, instead I was just a little tired. I'm 100 % sure that my hydration had prevented my dehydration.

What major challenges have you found this week?
On my hangover day I found it a bit of effort to get through the 3  litres. My stomach was closed for business and I just wasn't in the humour. On the plus side, I didn't have a hangover so the good with the bad n all of that. 

Do you feel any different?

Does pissed off count?

Has it been worth it?

Eh... no. I'd rather take a few paracetemol and get rid of headache if the extra water has resulted in that little party on my face.

Check out my first post on my journey here

Week 1 Results: here

Week 2 Results: here

Thursday, September 4, 2014

One Month Water Challenge: Week 2 Results

This week has seen a bit of a change in my routine. I'm back in work and didn't really think it was appropriate or very accident friendly to have a pint glass sitting on my desk. Instead I've opted for 2 litres and 2 pints a day. My routine looks a bit like this:

1. Litre bottle before lunch
2. Litre bottle after lunch before 'home time'
3. Two pints of Miwadi (I know, I'm not being a puritanical waterist here) in the evening

I'm finding it very manageable. I talk a lot as part of my job so drinking plenty of water has been easy enough as I've been quite thirsty. In the past I would have had a sore throat in the beginning of September after taking a hiatus from constant chatter for a few months but I'm finding this not to be the case now.

Here I am at 7am this morning

Initial Shot on the Left / End of Week 2 shot on the right.
I'm not giving you stink eye there, my left eye didnt seem to get the memo that it was time to be awake.
It was 7 am after all :)  

Here's how I got on with everything else.

What major challenges have you found so far?
None this week. I haven't been well (you might here that a few times!) so I found that I've been quite thirsty. The peeing constantly has subsided a little too. I'm starting to go less during the day. Trips to the loo are now about the quality  while I'm there rather than the quantity of my visits - that's about the nicest way I can put it.

Have there been any major benefits?
I may have mentioned, I've been only a little sick this week and as odd as it sounds, this has been the most  surprising result for me. A plague has been cast upon our house and for some reason, it's chosen to pretty much pass me over. This is massive for me. I'm almost gloating typing this because normally in our house I'm always the one with a cold or sniffle or a flu. Every September without fail I come down with something. Himself - P.Diddy, is never, ever sick. For the life of me, I can't remember the last time he  was ill. He doesn't even suffer with the dreaded manflu because he's never sick to begin with. Last week I wrote how I was starting to feel a bit ill and it remained at just that. I had a bit of aches and pains, a little trouble sleeping but that's about it. It didn't really turn into anything more. P.Diddy on the other hand is 'dyin' and for the first time in a long time, has had to retreat to the sickbed. I'm wary of making it sound like water is this wonder cure, I mean - after all, it is just water but honestly, I can't think of why else I was left pretty unscathed by the bug and he's in bits. Maybe it was just time his turn to take the hit but I genuinely feel like my increase in water consumption has had a big difference to my health.
Another benefit is that my stomach has continued to be less bloated.

How's your skin looking?
I'm trying to be as consistent as I can with the taking of the shots. I take them in the morning, with no cleansing having gone on and on my desk in front of the same window. I think the lighting was slightly different this morning, it was a bit cloudier out. I think you can notice this change in that my eyes on the left appear greener than the right.
      That spot, that ruination on my face is 100% my fault. Ok, I'm being a bit overdramatic but I did get a whopper of a spot on my chin last weekend. I have teeny confession to make. Last Friday when I was feeling a bit under the weather and I went to bed early. I was feeling really lazy and I used a very ineffective facewipe. The next morning I woke up with half of my make up still on my face and the other half on the pillow. As a result I ended up with a whopper of spot that came up pretty much the next day. *Congrats face, I'm only showing my bare face to the internets here*
     I would still say that my skin is looking less red and that the tone has evened out more. I'm also quite impressed at how quickly the redness from my Vesuvius is clearing up. Overall I wouldn't say I'm looking young enough to be asked for i.d. but I am happy with how my skin is looking.

Do you feel any different?
In my mindset, yes. I feel like my body is starting to work more efficiently. My stomach is less bloated, my body is fighting off infections better and the skin on my face feels softer with a more even skintone. 

Has it been worth it?
Yes, I'm beginning to think that it really has. I don't think I look 10 years younger (yet! there's always hope!) but I'm definitely feeling the benefits. I'm really looking forward to seeing what changes next week will bring. 

If you've reading and following me on my journey I'd really appreciate it if you'd like and share it with your friends on facebook and twitter :)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Aldi's Gluten Free Range: A Glowing Review

Anyone who'll  listen to me lately has heard be going on (and on) about how fantastic Aldi's 'Has No' gluten free range is. If I like something I tend to repeat myself a lot, I figured I would do them all a favour, I would take this one to the blog.  Like the selfless saint that I am, I have decided to spare the ears of those who know me from listening to me profess the wonder that is Aldi's gluten free for the millionth time. But seriously, it really is great.

The whole gluten free craze has really taken off in the last few years. I come from a family with a fair few  bona-fida celiacs. I remember twenty years ago,  my mam only being able to buy (pretty awful) bread in one shop in Dublin City centre at ten times the price of a regular sliced pan. Now it seems that most restaurants, supermarkets and even bars are catering to those who prefer a gluten free diet. There seems to be a rise in people who are gluten intolerant as apposed to being completely celiac. Myself being one of them. I tend to live a mainly gluten free diet, except when a cake is put in front of me and then all of my willpower crumbles, or a burger... you can't beat a good burger. Unfortunately, when I eat these I end up a stomach that looks like I'm trying to smuggle a beach ball underneath it. Nice. Not quite the look anyone is after. 
This is where Aldi's gluten free range has been some thing of a marvel.

Adli's range taste exactly like normal food, if not better. That may seem like a very ordinary statement and not really an accolade, but anyone who has tried overpriced, cardboard like gluten free products in the past will know that this is just about as good as it gets in terms of gluten free food. It's just unheard of. To have gluten free products that are moist, don't crumble, taste fantastic and are very economically priced  is something that I just didn't think possible until now. Before I continue and give the low down on my favourite in the range, I feel it important to point out that just because something is gluten free doesn't necessarily mean that it's healthier. Gluten  is a mix of two proteins that hold grains together when cooking, when this is removed it makes the mix quite crumbly and as a result more fats and other additives are added to gluten free products to give them the elasticity and moisture that they're missing. Honestly, I couldn't care less what's added to it. Sometimes a cup of tea and rice cake really doesn't cut it. Bring on whatever it is they put in it.

So here's a list of my favourite in the Has No range. Unfortunately I don't have a price for them as they're not listed on the online site but most are between one and three euro.

Has No Ginger Cookies
Oh my God. I'm going to say that these are probably my favourite biscuits of all time. They are crunchy, a decent cookies sized and they have chunks of chewy, spicy ginger in them. I may or may not have eaten an entire packet the day I discovered them. 

Has No Pasta
This is a great gluten free pasta in that it doesn't turn to mush when it's boiled. It holds a good texture to it. The best part is the price. It used to really irk me paying 6 times as much for gluten free pasta in other supermarkets. 

Has No Porridge
This tastes exactly like regular porridge. This was a real revelation for me. I tried the Kelkin porridge in the past and honestly, I couldn't give the stuff away. It was literally like flakes of dried cardboard. I feel bad writing that as they're an Irish company and I should promote Irish n all of that but seriously, they need to get their shit together. Back to Aldi... it's just great. It has the normal texture of porridge and cooks the same way too. All for €2 less than other less cardboard tasting gluten free porridges.

Has No White Baps
Ahh... me, when I was 13. (Sorry) These are great! Burgers and a bun.  I was made up when I saw them. They are the teeniest bit on the dry side but once a lurvely burger was thrown in there it was all forgotten about.

Has No Rolls
(I wish). Again, a hotdog with a bun. Unimaginable for gluten free heads in the past.

Has No Maderia Cake 
I am obsessed with this! I'm not even that big a fan or normal maderia cake but this one is so spongy and full of flavour. Given half the chance I would have eaten all of it.

Has No Multiseed Bread
This bread is of a fairly decent size, it's not crumbly and it's full of seeds so it feels healthier. You can actually make a sandwich with this bread and not have to toast it first. Again, unheard of for a gluten free bread as it's generally too small and too dry.

There it is in all it's carby glory.

So there you have it. I heart Aldi's gluten free range.  I've gotten that one out of my system. I sang it from the internet rooftops. I can go back to talking about the important stuff (The Kardashians) with the people that I know. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

One Month Water Challenge: Week 1 Results

Before I get into it all properly, let me begin with, I lost 2 feckin pounds from drinking just drinking water?! I swear to Christ , it wasn't for the fact that I'd actually been trying. I discovered pretty early on that water is a grim substitute for food. There was no 'oh it'll fill you up for longer' with me. I continued to eat as normal, which upon a mental review of my diet in the last week, consisted of 5 packets of crisps, a kebab and cake. I'm not exactly the poster child for willpower. The weight loss wasn't due to an increase in exercise either as a back injury has prevented me from doing pretty much anything since the end of July. (Kettlebells are not your friend). I can only guess that the  loss was due to water retention or something like that. Either way, I'm not complaining.

Now that that's out the way I'll get into how my week actually went. I had a bit of an epiphany on day 1 that 3 litres is the equivalent of 5.3 pints. Sure that's graaaaand I though to myself. The Enabler n I have well been known to drink at least 5 pints on a night out! Years of practice downing Carlsberg  finally being put up some use. Since breaking it up into pints instead of litres, I've found that not only has it been psychologically easier to handle but that it makes it more manageable to break up during the day. My routine goes something like this:

  1.  a pint first thing at breakfast,
  2.  another before lunch,
  3.  my next one after lunch between 1pm and 3pm,
  4.  another pint between 3pm and 5pm 
  5.  finally the last one in the evening.
  6.  I might have a decaff coffee thrown in there too to bring up the .3 of a pint. 

I picked up some organic cordial at the market in the Peoples Park in Dun Laoghaire last Sunday. I know ideally that I should be drinking just plain water but I figured that since it was organic and all natural it wasn't the worst. (If I'm shovelling a load of crisps into my mouth I'm not really going to get all puritan on natural fruit juice added to water.) I've found that it really helps with the last 2 pints of the day when water is getting a bit boring.

So here's the money shot......

The picture on the left is after week 1.

I'll let you make up your own mind as to whether or not you think I should be rounding up my 21 kisses or not yet.

I figured if I was reading the rest of this article if it was written in a Q&A style approach so here goes.

What major challenges have you found so far?

The obvious, me and the loo are now very well acquainted. Sorry, but there was no point in dressing that one up! I've learnt though that it's actually alright if I dont drink my last pint after 8pm. There ya go. Lovely.

Have there been any major benefits?

Other than the very unexpected weight loss, my stomach is definitely less bloated. This is very surprising as generally I tend to follow a gluten and dairy free diet and after said kebab and cake I would have expected it to be bloated and it's not.

How's your skin looking? 

One major difference I've noticed is that, like the author of the original article, I've developed a bit of a break out.  Fantastic. I've tried to keep the conditions in taking the results shot as consistent of those with the first. The photo is taken in the morning, using natural light only and without having cleansed or put any make up on. I took the photo sans make up at 6.30 am. I was fully set up to discredit any positive results and err on the side of cynicism but I have to admit, that for 6.30 in the morning it's not that bad. I think my skin tones is looking a bit less red. I've definitely looked worse. 

Do you feel any different?

Other than feeling the need to piss a lot, no. I'm not full of the joys, bursting with energy or feeling amaaazing. In fact, my wonderful immune system has gifted me with a cold just in time for me to go back to work. I will be interested however, to see if drinking loads of water helps this to shift quicker by next week.

Has it been worth it?

For the fact that I've lost 2 pounds by drinking water and still eating junk food then yes. Less bloating is also a bonus.

Other than that I'm pleased with the weight loss and the change in my skin tone but the constant peeing has been a bit of a struggle. However, this isn't really enough to deter me. Ever the optimist  I'm gonna keep on going with what feels like an attempt to drink the entire fountain of youth.

For those of you who have stuck this out for this long and haven't read my original post, you can check it out here

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub

This is, by no stretch of the imagination, a new product. I'm not sure how long it's been around but it's definitely been knocking around for the last few years but I figured, as with all great products, that there's no harm in reminding those who own it of it's greatness and informing the one or two who mightn't have heard about it already.

Let me begin with: this time of the year sucks. The sky is like this big, ominous, grey weight that's likely to fall at any time. It gives me manky headaches. I'm like that character Kaa, the snake in the Jungle Book, going around the place complaining of my sssssinsuses. The drop in temperature also brings on a lovely conditions that I like to call Lip Leprosy. It's as though every single layer of skin on my lips collectively decide 'feck this' and decide to fall off all at one time. Lip lemmings hoping of the cliff together would be another fitting analogy. I used to coat them (in vain) with layers of whatever lip balm I could find. After a few years I realized that this was all just a ridiculously pointless endevour. There's no sense in throwing a load of grease on top of seismic sized splits in my lips. (That was almost poetic.. seriously though, they really are in bits by times).  It makes far more sense to remove the dry skin and then apply lip balm to soothe and moisturize. 

Lush's Bubblegum lip scrub is the answer to my dry lipped prayers.  It's ingredients are mainly castor sugar and and organic jojoba oil. (Even writing that I was pronouncing it Joe Joeba, I'm just not cool enough to call it yohoba) You apply some to your lips using your finger and get right in there and scrub it all away. The ingredients also make is a super delicious treat. It's like having the sugar from a donut on your lips and that have a function other than going straight to your hips/arse/belly. I'd go as far as to say that I consider it a treat if I'm trying (but predominantly failing) to eat clean. It's the little things.

I know that given the ingredients you could essentially make your own, or just use a dry toothbrush and some vaseline but seriously, aint nobody got time for that. 

The lipscrub comes in at around €6 (I can't find an Irish version of the website to give an exact figure) and it lasts for ages. I feel I'm doing it a bit of a disservice by describing it as a cure solely for lip leprosy, it's also great to use before applying lipstick, particularly a bold colours. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bargain Buy! Nivea BB Cream

Estée and I came under a bit of scrutiny lately. When getting my make up done recently the make up artist asked me what foundation I used. Unabashed, I told him about my great love affair with Estée Lauder's Double Wear only for my reply to be met with an 'Oh......'. Yeah, one of those 'oh's'. The 'we wear pink on Wednesday', tumbleweed sort. It set me off into a bit of an honesty spiral with myself, I mean..... I love it, I majorly heart it, but if I'm being very honest, it probably is a little too heavy for everyday wear. I've been meaning to try the Double Wear light foundation for a good while now but a general lack of funds has put a bit of a dampner on those plans. Instead, I sought out a cheaper alternative. Enter Nivea's BB Cream..

Nivea seem to be having a massive half price sale at the moment on all of their face care products. I've seen it on sale in Penney's / Primark and in Boots. When I saw their BB cream in Boots for €4.25 (less than the price of a pint, especially in Templebar) I figured I'd give it a shot. Sure at that price I didn't rate it as much of a gamble. In saying that,  I have to admit I didn't really have high hopes either. I'd tried other BB creams last year and I wasn't that impressed with them. In general I'd found their  texture to be a little too oily and they didn't have much lasting power. Not really much of a comfort for the girl who likes to hide under her Double Wear blanket. How wrong was I? Looks like it was Nivea for the win, coming in 2 for 2  in the last while. Check out my blog on their primer here if you haven't seen it already.

Here it is in situ in Boots. I felt like the David Attenbourgh of the make up world taking this shot. 

Here's a little run down on how I got on in my great voyage in facing the world of BB or being bare for me.


  • The coverage is lovely. It's smooth, creamy and not at all oily. It' has a good coverage for a BB cream, light but still will even out your skin tone. Being a BB cream however it still would require using some concealer.
  • The price. Seriously, there's no arguing with that one. 
  • How easily it goes on. I apply it with my fingers and despite this it spreads really well. It literally takes less than a minute. It's ideal for mornings when you really just can't be arsed. 
  • I'm quite pale and have a fear of tangerine face. I found the colour match up to be great. It would be ideal for holidays and festivals when you don't have much time or don't have a big mirror but would still like to avoid that streaky tangoed look. 
  • It has an SPF of 10 and all of the other BB cream goodness in that it's very moisturizing. 


  • It's not going to give as clear a coverage as foundation but it's a BB cream, isn't that the point that it's not going to be as heavy?

Overall, would I buy this product again when it goes back to being it's full price? Definitely. I love how moisturizing and easy to apply it is. Come the winter I can see myself opting for a few more minutes under my actual blanket rather than my Double Wear blanket... most of the time ;)

Here am I just in from a walk. I could probably do with a bit more concealer to hide a few scars but overall it's not bad!

My winning combo at the moment, n all for less than a tenner. Sorted! 

What's your thoughts on BB creams? Has anyone tried the Double Wear light foundation? 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

One Month Water Challenge: Will drinking 3 liters of water a day take 10 years off my face?

We all know that we should drink at least 2 litres of water a day. Every celebrity going (Jen being today's latest) seem to  claim that their secret to staying young and slim is plain old water. They wax lyrical about how they're 'naturally' slim and wrinkle free down to drinking their recommended 2 litres a day. It all seems so easy, sure just turned on the tap there, but what I want to know is how many of us actually drink the full two litres a day? I know I definitely don't, I'd say I drink around a liter at the max. I always start with good intentions, I'll do it for around 3 days and then forget all about it. 

A friend sent me this article on the Daily Mail a few months ago and I've been thinking about it on and off since. In brief, the journalist drank 3 litres of water every day for a month in a bid to aid digestion and stop her headaches. She claims that it helped with both issues but just check out her face! 

(full article on the Daily Mail)

Pretty epic isn't it!? And all of that achieved by drinking some uisce? I'm sold.

Since I've turned 30, I have to admit, I've developed a bit of an anti aging obsession. I've become more aware of my skin and any subtle fine line that appears to be forming that I thought I ever would be. Jesus, as I'm typing this Pulp are singing 'Help the Aged'. Piss off Jarvis Cocker..... this is definitely a sign. 
Anyways, I've started to regret all of those years of taking a smooth and crease free face for granted and I'm beginning to worry if I'll end up with a face like a creased shirt (or to quote the Enabler 'a leather handbag)  by the time I'm 40 thanks to my stints on the sunbed and my wanton abandon when it came to sunscreen. Alright, if I'm being really honest about it, I don't think smokes, drink and sleeping with my make up on has done me any favours in the long run either. Smoking and drinking ruins your skin. Who knew?

Well, they say there's nothing worse than a reformed smoker and definitely a woman with too much time on her hands so I've decided to do something about it. Anyone who knows follows me on Instagram will know that I'm quite the fan of self set challenge, especially if there's a hint of narcissism involved. I'm also just a sucker in general for miracle cures and anything that seems new or interesting. So given that, I've decided to see if drinking a heap of water a day can knock 10 years off my skin too.

I'm going to post a weekly picture and progress report on this blog. I figure if my makeupless mush is up on the net for everyone to see then I'll have to stick to it. 
As usual, at the start of something I'm all full of optimism. I know 3 litres might seem like a lot but I'm rationalizing that I can break this down in two 500ml bottles of water three times a day, two in the morning, two in the afternoon and two in the evening. Doesn't seem to bad that way... right...?....Right??   I'm not a huge tea or coffee drinker but I might substitute a bottle for the odd cuppa here and there.

6 of them a day seems pretty doable doesn't it? 

Ok, so I've procrastinated long enough,  here comes the mugshot. Here's my no make up, filterless face in all it's gory or glory, I'll leave that one up to you.

Week 1:

yep, sorry for that! 

Next Thursday I'll post a comparison shot and write an update on how I got on. I'll also post up on Instagram with a hastag of:  #onemonthwaterchallenge

So who's up for it? If you are join in my instagram hastag or leave a comment below. Here's to being 21 again ;)

** Slight Update** 
I've just been informed by a friend that excessive water conmsumption could be damaging to your bodies vitamin, mineral etc absorbtion , it depends on a variety of factors including your height, weight and activity. Makes sense really. 
I used this link here (click on me) to calculate how much water I should drink. I'm 5ft 7.... I'm not giving the rest away ;) but it's coming in that I should drink around two and a half to three litres a day. Check yours out too before you begin. If you're on the shorter side, Huzzah! Less toilet trips for you!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Revlon Uniq 1 leave in conditioner - this stuff really works.

I've only been using Revlon's Uniq 1 for two weeks now but already I know that it's is one of those products that I'll be using for a long time to come. I've tried leave in conditioners in the past, most of them being misses rather than hits which lead me to give up on them. I felt that they left my hair too heavy and one in particular left it with this filmy, greasy layer. Not really the look I was after. Enter Revlon's Uniq 1 and I'm now a convert to the world of leave in conditioners.  

This product isn't just a leave in conditioner however, it's a bit of a one stop shop. On the bottle it claims to do the following:

1. Repair For Dry & Damaged Hair
2. Shine & Frizz Control
3. Heat Protection
4. Silkiness & Smoothness
5. Hair Colour Protection/ with UVA & UVB Filters
6. Easier Brushing & Ironing
7. Incredible Detangling
8. Long - Lasting Hairstyle
9. Split Ends Prevention
10. Adds Body 

...... that's a helluva lot to promise. Although, if you ask me, 6 and 7 are kinda the same thing aren't they? Bit of a marketing ploy there.

Here are some of the major benefits that I've noticed so far in order of their effectiveness.  

Numbers 6 and 7: Easier Brushing & Ironing and Incredible Detangling

The Enabler claims to have a head on her like Worzel Gummidge in the morning. When asked about her hair type she says "it's like feathers, it's like having a bleedin nest on me head". Now, if she's claiming that this product sorts her nest out it must be doing something right. I can concur with her, unlike a head of feathers, I've a thick scraggly  mane - that wonderful sort of Irish hair that's not quite straight but not quite curly, and my brush glides through my hair after using the leave in conditioner. ff only this had've been around when I was a kid. Years of reefing the head of me could have been avoiding.

Number 2. Shine & Frizz Control

Like every Irish girl going with that half curly, half straight mop to contend with, one of my first five thoughts when I'm thinking about a holiday are 'Is it going to be humid?? Jesus, I'm going to have Monica hair.' Monica hair at this stage has become as synonymous to frizz and Kim Kardashian is to a cry face. Ok, maybe not, but I just wanted to include the pic because it's how Monica hair makes me feel, and it just makes me laugh. 

I digress.  It was my hairdresser who originally recommended the conditioner to me. I'd asked her if she had any tips for keeping frizzhead at bay before I was going on a holiday. I was going to be bridesmaid at a beach wedding and I didn't want my hair to literally eclipse the bride. She explained that the reason the hair goes so poodle - like is because it's dry and it's absorbing the moisture in the air, especially if the climate is humid. To prevent this she recommended using a good leave in conditioner like the Revlon Uniq 1. After conferring with the enabler and she testified to its greatness, I was keen to try it. I have to admit, they knows their stuff. Combining the leave in conditioner with some Frizz Ease (just in case) my hair was silky, straight and easy to manage. 

Numbers 1, 4 and 9:  Repair For Dry & Damaged Hair and Silkiness & Smoothness and Split End Prevention

This is a bit of a cheat as well, doesn't one go hand in hand with the other? I will agree though, that my hair is softer, silkier and smoother from using the conditioner. It doesn't feel weighed down or heavy from the product either and it smells great too. If it's telling me that it will then prevent future split ends well then who am I to argue? Win win all around. 

Regarding the rest of the claims, I wouldn't say I'd particularly noticed that my hair has extra body or that it holds a style for longer. I must also admit to using a heat protecting spray before using my ghd as everyone whose grown their hair long will know that highlights and long hair don't generally go hand in hand so I'm very protective over it. 

When using the conditioner I'd advise using it sparingly. Less really is more with this one. It retails at around the  €15 mark, a bit more than other big brands that can be bought in the local pharmacy but given that I can now live a life free of frizz I'd say it's definitely worth it. 
You can pick it up at your local terrisales, or failing that, it's £9.95 on

Go out and buy this conditioner, it will leave you with silky soft hair that's easy to brush and your future self looking back at holiday snaps  thank you for it! 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Parcel Motel Review: a site every Irish online shopper needs to know about

There's a long list of things that get my goat. This one, however, will definitely strike a chord with any Irish online shopper who's tried to buy something online on Amazon.

 Ya know when your online and you see a few things that you like, you could be a good 15 or 20 minutes creating your online shopping cart only to go to the checkout and see, boldly, in red, 'Seller does not dispatch to this country'. Yeah. That. 20 whole entire minutes of your life gone, never to be gotten back. And apart from that, all of your little online shopping spree high is now shattered into little bit sized pieces. 

The second one that really annoys me is when you see an item you like, you then see the ever so tempting 'FREE Delivery on items over £10' and you think 'oooh, sure I'll have to get it now', only to go to the checkout and discover that the free postage is only for UK residents and the price of the postage is more than that item itself. Feck. That.

So pissed off was I that (very unlike me) I indulged in a rant. I sent Amazon an email something along the lines of the following:

Dear People of Amazon,

you really need to sort you site out. For the life of me, I really can't understand why you haven't created a function yet that allows international shoppers to only view items that are posted internationally. Instead of suffering shopping roullete everytime they go to the checkout. 
Also, for the benefit of international shoppers, could you please remove the 'Free Delivery' sticker??  I'e just been quoted £16 to post two mugs to Dublin. (yes reader, €16, €20 ... 4 glasses of wine). .... For that price I could nearly buy my own Ryanair flight for the mugs.  Is it that the mugs are going via the actualy Amazon?? And how on earth did you work out that it woud take 2 weeks to get here from  Southend?? I could personally swim and walk there to pick them up in person to collect them.

I was regaling this email in full to my cousin, (yep, not my usual shopping enabler Leah this time!) and he told all about this wonderful site called Parcel Motel. As the conversation went on I could feel my cortisol levels drop. It's such a great idea, one that seems so obvious you'd think 'how did no one come up with this before?'.

I'll admit, I'd seen the motels around the local petrol stations before. I'd been curious about it but if I'm honest, I kinda just thought it looked like effort. How wrong I was? In case though, you still don't believe me, or can't be arsed reading the site, I'll break it down for you.

  • you register on the site like you would with any other, name, address, phone number etc
  • you can either register a credit card or buy top up credit
  • you chose a pick up point to collect your parcel - there's loads to choose from.
  • you're given a personal id number
  • There are 2 addresses then to have your package sent to, one in Ireland if it's only national post, and one based in Co. Antrim if you're having an item delivered internationally. You enter one of these when you're shopping along with your id number
  • That's it! Parcel Motel do all of the hard work. They have the items sent to one of their two addresses and then  forward them on to your local pick up point.
Here comes the exciting bit. When your item has been delivered you get a text message with a pin number. At the fancy atm like screen you enter your pin and your phone number ..... and here it comes.... a mystery door pops open with presents inside! I'm such a child.

Each delivery costs only €4 which for me, was way better than 20 feckin euro. I would give the following tips though

  • items of a certain size can only be sent or delivered. Think along the lines of a pair of jeans, computer games, laptops, coats, dresses, stuff for the kitchen. 
  • The maximum weight is 10kg. They're not delivering bikes for 4 quid here.
  • It costs €4 per item sent per seller, even if you do all of your shopping on one day its not counted as one delivery. It makes more sense to buy all of your shopping from the one seller.

A service of Parcel Motel that I haven't used yet is posting or sending an item to Ireland or the UK.
It looks pretty straight forward. 

  • you enter the details online
  •  pay for it - prices start from €4.50, again using credit card or online top up credit
  •  print out a label with a barcode
  • scan it onto the screen and your local Parcel Motel ... and that's it
This will make life so much easier for a lot of people. For people working 9 to 5 jobs, who just don't have the time to make it to the post office or would like to spend their lunch hour actually eating, it means that you wouldn't have to spend your lunch hour queing up (again, effort) and that you could post the item whenever you get a chance. 

In brief, I heart Parcel Motel.

Head on over to for more information, or if all of the above sounded like confusing waffle. 

** please note, the Parcel Motel logo comes without the hearts, I'm just that sad.