Monday, 8 August 2016

Brand Focus: Essence

Hey there lovely people of the internet! I decided to start a new series where I test a couple of few products from various high street makeup brands and give my opinions on them. My first port of call was the Essence stand and I have spent the last few months collecting and testing some products from their make up line.

Essence is a European budget beauty brand that do not test on animals. When I first started using make up, I couldn't get enough of their products. However, as I got older and my make up collection started to grow, I slowly started to drift from using much of their products. I wanted to return to Essence to see if their products were actually any good or if they should be left in the past.

Starting off with a product I've been using since the dawn of time, the eyebrow stylist set. This product comes with 2 different eyebrow powders, a little brush, 3 stencils and an instruction manual. Truth be told, I only really use the eyebrow powders. I felt the stencils were somewhat awkward to use because the none of them really matched my eyebrow shape. The brush is usable if you're in a pinch but if it's "fleek-iness" you're after, this brush is not going to deliver! However, the powders themselves have been my go- to eyebrow product for years now. I own the shade 01 natural brunette style and I found that I can use the lighter shade if I'm going for a more natural look and the darker colour if I want to give Cara Delevingne a run for her money (lol, I wish). The powders are very pigmented and don't smudge off during the day. I don't think I'll ever stop repurchasing this product because for €3.09 you can't go wrong!

Continuing on with the eyebrows, the next product is their Lash and Brow gel. It is basically a clear mascara which aims to hold your eyebrows in place and give your eyelashes a natural look. Now this is a product which did nothing for me. I mostly used it for set my eyebrows but I just didn't feel like it did much at all. It would set them in place for a short while but my eyebrows would just fall back into their natural shape eventually. You had to faff around with the spoolie too to make sure you didn't end up putting too much product on and ending up with gloppy, wet brows.(Yep, it looks just as bad as it sounds!) And it was worse on my eyelashes, it just looked like I flicked a bit of water on my lashes! Now, I have to admit that my eyebrow are unruly AF and my eyelashes are basically non-existent so a it would have to be full on super glue for me to be impressed with this!

Next on my list is the I <3 Stage eyeshadow base. The first thing I noticed about this primer was how orange it was. I was certain that I was going to end up with bright orange eyelids! However, I found that once you blend it out with a large paddle brush instead on just just fingers definitely helps tone down the colour. I was actually quite impressed with this one. It definitely helped in making less pigmented eyeshadows appear more vibrant and it also improved the longevity of my eye make up. Anything that keeps my oily eyelids at bay gets a thumbs up from me!

I picked up a single eyeshadow a few weeks back in the shade 21 Keep Calm and Berry On. The colour is a mauve/ purple and I can imagine it to be the perfect colour for Autumn. This particular shade is matte and I noticed whilst swatching in the shop that the shimmery eyeshadows seemed to have a much better colour pay off. That being said, with this colour you can build the intensity up as much as you want depending whether you're going for a "everyday" look or a more dramatic look. The shadow was pretty easy to blend and I didn't notice any fall out at all, which is always a plus! Essence also have a good amount of brighter, more colourful shades which is nice to see in a sea of nudes! 

HOLY MOLY wait til you hear about this one! I picked up the All About Bronze eyeshadow palette just last week and I can already tell you that I LOVE it! I was actually taken aback when I first swatched these eyeshadows because of how pigmented and buttery they are! All the eyeshadows are shimmery and really have that WOW factor! Since getting this palette I actually don't really want to use anything else. Even my Urban Decay Naked Smoky palette has been pushed to one side, and that's saying something for a palette that costs less than a fiver! 

I heard about this mascara first from Gemma and I knew I had to pick it up. I have to say this does a pretty good job at keeping my eyelashes from looking invisible! It doesn't smudge under my eye or flake off throughout the day and there isn't a whole lot of difference between it and my Benefit They're Real mascara! However, it doesn't hold a curl for quite as long as I would like and I found it quite easy to overdo it and make my lashes go all clumpy. That being said, I'm definitely going to try out the other mascara in this range which claims to be a lengthening mascara because goodness knows I need it! 

Another product which I have been using for years now is their liquid eyeliner. For the price it is, it is a great product. It is black as the ace of spades, the handle is just the right length and it is very long-lasting. The product is quite wet and takes a while to dry which is a pain in the neck for all of us hooded eyed girls who juST WANT OPEN OUR GODDAMN EYES! But unfortunately that can happen with a lot of eyeliners, so it's just something I'll have to deal with. *sigh* 

The essence lip liners are another product which I think everyone should get their hands on. They cost just over a euro and they are flawless! They are really pigmented and so creamy. I picked up the two shades Satin Mauve and Honey Berry and I would not hesitate to buy all of the colours available! I often use them on their own and I found that they wear quite well throughout the day. My lips can easily get dry and flaky when I wear some lip products but I haven't noticed this happening at all when I wear theses lip liners. The fact that they are so emollient also means they don't drag the skin when you apply them but their not so creamy that the smudge all over yoour mouth after a few hours. ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR ESSENCE!

Another lip product I've tried out is their Sheer & Shine lipstick in the colour 12 Candy Love. They werent joking when they mentioned "sheer". I even had to run it over my arm a few times for my camera to pick up the colour. In all honesty, I wouldn't consider this to be a lipstick, it's more along the lines of a tinted lip balm. Not that I'm saying it's a bad product, I mean I do still wear it from time to time when my lips are looking a bit wan and in need of a pick me up.  

The final product for this post is the Liquid Lipstick in the shade Make A Statement (at least I think it is, the label wore off). I don't know about you but I always expect a liquid lipstick to go on as a liquid then dry down to a matte finish. Maybe I'm mistaken but either way let it be known that this product does not dry down. I would say that it is more of a lip gloss than a lipstick as it has that high-shine, sticky look and feel to it. That being said, these are the most pigmented "lip gloss" I have ever worn. One swipe and you have full coverage. The doe-foot applicator also makes getting a sharp cupid's bow that little bit easier. If you're in the market for a high impact lip gloss check this line out ASAP!

So that's it for my Essence review. Overall, I'm really impressed by the products I've trialled recently. There was somethings in there that really gave high end brands a run for their money and that means that I'll definitely be hitting up the Essence counter more often from now on. Essence products can be bought in Penneys, Sam Macauley's pharmacies along with other chemists nationwide! Let me know what other brands you would like to see in this"Brand Focus" series!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

A Life Update

Long time no see, right? Today I'm writing a really personal post and it's one I wanted to do for quite a while. That being said I have absolutely no idea how to articulate myself right now and I need to just get this all of my chest. Immediately, so it seems.

For the past year I have been struggling with depression. During the summer of 2015, my mood and mental state very gradually started to decline, for no apparent reason. I didn't have a clue what was going on and I blamed it on everything from the weather to watching too much Jeremy Kyle! But ultimately, I ignored it until the point where it could no longer be ignored. I was so scared as to what happening to me and I felt like I was going insane and that everything was spiralling out of control. 

The onset of depression timed perfectly with the start of the new school year. And this wasn't just any school year, this was the Leaving Cert. Now anyone will tell you that the Leaving Cert is difficult but being in a depressive state made coming to school feel like a daily trip to hell and back. My school work started to suffer massively and so did my blog. I really wanted my blog to save me. I thought that if I could divert my attention to a hobby that didn't require getting out of bed, I would get better. It sounded like the perfect solution! But unfortunately life doesn't always work out the way you want it to.

Thankfully, I am feeling much better than I was before and I'm now on medication and am seeing a psychotherapist, however I still have days that are worse than others.

I do realise that this post isn't very eloquent and probably made no sense but I felt like I had to make a post discussing my depression before I could make anymore posts. And that reminds me, I really do want to get back into blogging. There was a while where I couldn't do anything and I debated whether I would ever return to the blogosphere, but as it turns out I missed it. I enjoy the whole process of blogging. You get a buzz out of taking photos, editing them, writing up posts and seeing the whole thing come together. Nothing is better than seeing something grow from being an idea scribbled on a scrap of paper to essentially an article on your own piece of the internet!

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you back around these parts very soon.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

How to Style The Poloneck.

Hey guys! In today's post, I'll be showing you how to style the tan Poloneck sweater. And yes, I have still been loving them since I lasted mentioned them here! Even though it's officially spring, it is still pretty chilly in Ireland (damn you stereotypical weather!) and this sweater is the perfect way to transition from your winter woolies to your SS16 wardrobe! The sweater I featured here is from New Look where there is plenty of different styles to choose from.

Black satchel bag: ASOS, Denim Pinafore: New Look, Watch: Daniel Wellington, Shoes: H&M

Ripped Jeans: River Island, Clutch: ASOS, Rings: H&M, Shoes: ASOS

Earrings: River Island, Leather Skirt: New Look, Necklace: River Island, Fur Gillet: H&M, Boots: ASOS

So that's how I style the poloneck. Let me know how you would style the poloneck!

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Review: Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette.

Hey guys! Hope everyone is doing well! Today I'm finally getting around to doing my review on the Urban Decay naked Smoky Palette. I got this palette as a birthday present from my fabulous friends way back in October and I have been testing it out ever since. 

When I had first heard of the palette, I thought that it would be a palette made solely for dramatic, smoky looks and that it wouldn't really be your go-to nude palette for everyday use. But, when I opened up the palette and had a good look at the colours I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was a wide variety of colours and finishes.

Obviously, this palette is perfect for a smoky eye (I mean, you would hope so with a name like that). If you are a fan of the full glam dramatic eyes, then you may need to consider having this in your arsenal! It has basically every colour you need for a smoky eye, ranging from dark blues, purples, greys, browns and of course a smouldering black to create those dramatic looks, but it also has mid tone colours such as "combust" which I found to be the secret weapon for that perfect blended out look. 

The finishes of the shadows go from shimmery (and I mean shimmery) to matte to everything in between. It is mostly the lighter shades that seem to have that high impact shimmer and shine whereas the darker colours go from a muted frost finish to complete matte. The last two shadows in the palette (Combust and Thirteen) are the only light shadows that are matte. I am a fan of the range of finishes in this palette because you really can do completely differently looks using just one product and I'm all about getting as much bang for your buck!

And, in terms of pigmentation, you really do get what you pay for. Urban Decay have always been renowned for their eyeshadows and I have to say, I see why. As you can see from the swatches (the lighter colours didn't come up as well on camera since some are skin tone shades) these shadows are insanely pigmented! They are very buttery and are super bendable. I have found that there can be some fallout especially with the more shimmery ones but nothing a swipe or two with a tissue can't fix. I have gotten into the habit of doing my eyeshadow before foundation recently so it never really is a problem for me anymore. The colours do last on my oily eyes for a good amount of time without using any primer, so that gets a thumbs up from me!

I have to give an honourary mention to the brush too. I wouldn't be one for ever really using the brush or applicator that comes with eyeshadow palettes but this one is the handiest, dandiest brush you ever did see! One side is a crease brush which is perfect for crease work/general all round blending and the other side is a pointed detailer brush which works wonderfully when applying eyeshadow under the lower lash line! Of course, I couldn't not mention the sheer beauty of the case itself and also, you know that magnetic clasp? So satisfying!

Have you tried this palette? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 

Sunday, 27 December 2015

My Top Picks From The Sales | Dresses

Hello everybody! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Day and are all now suitably stuffed to the brim! Of course, now it's time to turn towards the sales and sort through the rubbish to find those golden bargains! So in this post I gathered all my favourite dresses which were reduced and through them together for you all. Hopefully this will help some of you that are looking for dresses for New Year's Eve or any other festivities that are happening.

So that is all I have for you today! Let me know if you're hitting the sales any time soon and if these helped you in any way.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Secret Santa Gift Guide.

Christmas is great and all but when it comes to doing Secret Santa between your fellow classmates and/or co-workers it can be a bit of a head wrecker, especially when you aren't particularly close to the person you got. But fear not! Laura is here to save you from that awkward strained smile you can sadly get when you haven't quite hit the nail on the head! All the gifts mentioned here are under €20 so there is something for everyone's budget!

1. Stationery. Everybody loves stationery, right? This one would be perfect for someone who you know is disorganised! I mean you'd only be doing them a favour! My two choices were this Cath Kidson 2016 diary and a novelty notebook from Happy Jackson.

2. Slippers. This one is a no-brainer. Christmas time is meant for comfort and what is more comfort inducing than a cosy new pair of slippers? Personally, I love the moccasin style slipper and it took a lot of will power to leave them in Penneys when I was shopping over the weekend!

3. Gift set. Pretty self explanatory, I know, but if you know someone who is into all things Marvel then this Boots set should be right up their street. If not, a dainty Laura Ashley gift bag from Boots might suit instead.

4. Cookies. Handmade presents are really thoughtful and homemade cookies are the best! Tanya Burr's cookies are sure to please all tastes, I mean have you seen the amount of chocolate that goes into these bad boys?!

5. Phone Case. Something that is practical and cute? That is what Christmas present dreams are mad of!! This one from Asos is perfect for that someone who you would kindly like to stop taking so. many. selfies.!

6.Gloves for Phones. Another one for all those phone lovers out there. The colder months are truly evil when it come to using your phone. How annoying is it when you go to check your timeline whilst waiting for a bus or whatever and then you have to make the choice between frostbite or keeping up to date with the latest internet happenings? Well this could solve all those internal battles! Gloves which allow you to use your touchscreen phones. Admittedly, they don't look the prettiest but these are what everyone wants for Christmas!

7. A mug. Not the most original of ideas but there are so many novelty mugs around these days that you're bound to find one that suits your giftee down to a ~tea~! (I'm going to just leave now...)

8.A gift to charity. Unfortunately, we all get caught up in the Christmas rush and we tend to focus on buying materialistic things for our loved ones. We don't often think about people who aren't as blessed as us, so maybe this year we could a gift with bit more meaning . I picked out a Trocaire gift as when you buy a gift, you're chosen recipient gets a card detailing the gift and a family in need in a developing country gets a life changing gift. Ok, I explained that completely back-arsed ways so head to Trocaire's site which has all the details. 

What will you be giving to your Secret Santa this year?

Monday, 30 November 2015

"Asking For It" by Louise O Neill | Book Review

It's officially, 100% Winter! That annual magical feeling of numb fingers and sniffle-ly noses is in the air! So, what could be better than cosy-ing up by the fire with a cup of tea and a book? Not much, at least in my mind!

That being  said, the book that I'll be reviewing today isn't an uplifting or amiable one. "Asking for It" by Irish author, Louise O' Neill deals with quite a serious, heavy hearted topic; sexual consent and a society's response to rape. This is Louise O' Neill's second novel, her first being "Only Ever Yours" which I am eager to read after finishing this one.

The story centres around Emma, a popular, confident but unlikeable 18 year old who is the face of beauty. One summer night, there is a house party and the village's local heroes are there. Emma goes along with one of these boys and then wakes up on her porch without any memory of the night before. She cruelly discovers what happens that night through social media and the whispers of her school mates. The story goes on to show how her friends and neighbours desert her and chose to ignore the crimes committed by their prized GAA players.

Honestly, when I finished the last page of this book (which I read in a matter of hours, that really just says it all), I was speechless. I didn't know how I felt. Most of all, I was shaken. It didn't take much stretch of the imagination to see this sort of thing happen in my own local town. It hard to read the stark and harsh truth about something that is shrouded in secrecy and shame in today's world, especially in Ireland. The hardest part of reading this book was the ending. In a story where it all seems to be doom and gloom, we hope for a happy ending. But unfortunately, this isn't a fairytale, it's a story of real life events and real life doesn't always have a fairytale ending. This book showed me that when dealing with rape, there are no winners, just lives changed forever.

I think this is a book everyone should read. Male or female, young or old, it is relevant to you. It raises so many poignant questions about social media, double standards and society as a whole. It gets us to think about how rape victims are treated and how they are marginalised in society. 

Have you read this book? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below.