2016 - A Wrap Up!

It's that time of year again, when I start to reflect on the past twelve months. To be fair, I actually reflect a lot (which really means I overthink everything). Anyway I love reflecting at the end of a year, it's not everyone's cup of  tea but personally I LOVE it! I just feel like a new year brings a fresh beginning and a clean slate. I'm actually not the worst for sticking to resolutions/goals so I've always loved making them. I've a full post going live on New Years Day on my 2017 goals. But today I just want to look back and see what's happened this year.

I think globally 2016 has been a pretty crappy year, so many bad things have happened, terrorist attacks, iconic celebrities passing away, brexit and even Donald Trump actually becoming president! Personally though, it's been a grand year, nothing to brag or boast about, but I've definitely had worse years!

This might sound a little silly but I really feel like I've grown up a lot this year. I've always been very independent and moving away from home almost 4 years ago didn't even phase me, but this year something was just different. I feel like I've matured a lot. I know at 22 I still probably have a long way to go but I've been through a lot and I've learned from every experience.

I've learned to cope with my anxiety and panic attacks a lot better this year. This has helped my mental health so SO much! I've realised some of my triggers and come up with methods of calming myself and preventing panic attacks. At the end of 2015 I would say that my mental health was probably at an all time low. I hid it very well. If you followed me on snapchat back then, I bet you'd have never known. I bet even in real life you'd have never guessed it but in reality, behind closed doors I was a mess, struggling to even get out of bed and get dressed some days. If anyone is currently facing the battle of the bed, I truly truly feel for you. I was very lucky and have a great mammy who pulled me through the worst of it! My boyfriend was also incredible and deserves a medal or some sort of award for helping me through. Anyway, that's a post for another day.

I feel like 2016 was a year of healing for me mentally. As I said at the beginning of this post, I overthink everything. So I knew exactly what was causing my mental health to be so bad. At the start of 2016 I started to remove myself from certain situations and deal with situations in a different way. It took a while to change the way I thought about things but around June I was making some major headway with it! In June I also moved back home and started a new job in my mams company. It was great to be home again. I feel like I really needed to be around my parents. I really enjoyed working with my mam, I've been with her since as I'm on my placement for college. I've been doing all the things I love, social media, marketing, website design, making videos, writing blog posts, taking pictures, all while learning the inner workings of running a company. It's been such a brilliant experience and I've truly loved every second of it.

In the last third of the year, I felt like I somewhat got my shit together. After taking a digital detox I came back swinging. I'm finally in a good routine in terms of writing blog posts, making videos and working the day job too. I'm really happy with how my routine and time management is. I've also got to see my friends so much more, we've had random nights out and gotten so much closer. It's been absolute brilliant. Sometimes it can be hard to stay in touch when you don't see each other every day but making a small effort goes a long way. I'm so proud of my friends and think they're all just bloody amazing.

As I'm coming into the last few days of this year, I feel completely different to how I did this time last year. which is great. I feel like I've overcome a lot this year. I've healed a lot. I care a hell of a lot less about what people think and only really care what my inner circle think, and to put that in perspective, that's my parents, my boyfriend and a few close friends. I'm really excited for what 2017 has to bring. I feel like I'm finally open to new challenges and adventures again. I already have a few exciting things lined up which I'll explain in my next post!

I am happy to say goodbye to 2016, but before I do, I just want to take a second to thank each and every one of you who have read my blog this year, whether it's just this post or every single one of them. Thank you to everyone who follows and interacts with me on my social media. Thank you for all your kind words throughout the year, your lovely messages and your constant support. Thank you genuinely, from the bottom of my heart.

Here's to 2017! 

Erin X
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Lancome Skincare Review

Over the years I've tried out a good few products from Lancome. Recently at a Lancome event I bought one of their limited edition Christmas Gift Boxes. Inside that was the Énergie De Vie liquid moistuiriser, the Énergie De Vie Nuit Sleeping Mask and their Hypnose Mascara. I've used all three products for well over a month now so I thought I'd review them along with some bits I already had! Here's what I thought...

From left to right - Eye cream, serum, night mask, moisturiser and cleanser.

The Absolue Yeux and Advanced Genifique are only samples but pretty decent ones, they've lasted almost two months now. The Absolue Yeux is an eye cream. It's a little thick so a little amount goes a long way. I do really like it, I feel like it genuinely does something. I would find that underneath my eyes can get quite dry and whenever I use this, they seem to be much more hydrated. My concealer applies better and my eyes don't look as puffy. So it's a big thumbs up for the Absolue Yeux. I also really like the Advanced Genifique even though I hate saying that because the full size is a whopping €75!! It goes on really easily, sinks into your skin quick so it doesn't get sticky and in the morning my face feels so soft after using it. I really like using it but couldn't justify the price of the full size product.

The Énergie De Vie Nuit is a Sleeping Mask so you apply it just before going to bed, leave it on all night and wash it away the next morning. I really like this. It has a kind of gel formula that's cooling at night. I find it very good for hydrating my skin especially during these winter months. Yet again this product has a heavy price tag. The full sized version is €66!!! It's a nice mask but I don't think it's worth THAT much to be honest.

Next up is the Énergie De Vie liquid moisturiser. I have tried this so many different ways at different times of the day, I've stuck with it for nearly two months now and given it a very fair chance. But I don't like it. I know that might come as a shock as I know so many people LOVE it but I just found it didn't really do anything. I like the fact that it's a liquid rather than a cream, that's cool and felt nice and light on my skin. It sank into my skin in decent time and wasn't sticky but I can't help but feel quite disappointed by it. I just found it didn't plump up my skin, add any extra hydration, it doesn't have any SPF so I didn't really have any benefits from it! The price of it is €59, I'd say save your money and get the Body Shop's Drops of Youth moisturizer instead.

Lastly is the Galateis Douceur which is a cream cleanser. It's reasonably priced at €27 as it will last you ages. Each bottle has 200mls and I'm currently on my third bottle. I don't usually like cream cleansers but this is the exception. I find most cream cleansers to be quite heavy and can leave a lot of residue on my skin. This one is the opposite, it's light, it's easy to work into the skin and leaves my skin feeling soft but clean. I like to use it by adding a few pumps to my hands and massaging it into my face then wiping it away with a cotton pad. I do find if you apply the cleanser to the cotton pad first you lose a lot of the product as it's soaked up by the pad. I'd definitely recommend this, I usually use it in the morning as it's quick and easy.

So there you have it a quick fire round review at the bits of Lancome skincare that I have! DO you use any Lancome products? If so what do you think? 

Erin X
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Garnier Micellar Oil Infused Water Review

Has anyone else been getting a little sick of micellar waters recently? I definitely had. I got the hype, bought loads of different Micellar water and compared them all HERE. then one day I ran out and I actually didn't repurchase one. I'm not really sure why to be honest. They're very handy for after a night out or for travelling. I think I just got a bit sick of the hype.

Then Garnier come out with their oil infused micellar water and a while new wave of hype came along. I resisted it for along time but eventually gave in. I was really interested to see how the micellar water would work with the oil. I am obsessed with cleansing oils and they're basically all I use to remove makeup. So I gave in bought it and here's what I thought...

As you can see from the picture above, the oil sits on top of the water so before you use it you have to shake it, so that it mixes with the water. Once you've done that just add a little to a cotton pad and start to remove your makeup. I would only ever use this or any other micellar water as either a way to remove makeup, I always double cleanser with a proper cleanser afterwards.

It feels kind of silky. It's very soft, leaves your skin feeling very soft which is nice because so micellar waters can leave your skin very dry. The bottle says it's not greasy, I'm not so sure about that, I'd definitely notice a bit of residue left afterwards. However it removes makeup very well. Even my toughest most waterproof gel liner & mascara. It removes it very gently and quickly. It doesn't leave my sensitive eyes cloudy or foggy. It doesn't irritate them at all. There is a perfumed smell from it but that hasn't irritated my skin.

Overall, I'm very pleasantly surprised and impressed. I hadn't high hopes but I do find myself reaching for it more and more. I especially love it for my eyes. You can find the Garnier Micellar Oil Infused Cleansing Water in Boots, Superdrug, pharmacies nationwide and in Pennys! It costs €5.53 from Boots which is the cheapest I've seen it!

Have you tried it? What are your thought on Micellar waters in general?

Erin X
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Afternoon Tea with #LimerickBloggers

Hi Everyone!

On Sunday I went for Afternoon Tea in the Castletroy Park Hotel with some fellow Limerick Bloggers. There was around 12 of us which was lovely because it meant everyone really got to chat to each other. The lovely Sophie from Beau Heaux Blog organised the whole thing so thank you Sophie!

We chatted for a few hours, ate some fabulous little treats and then Sophie gave out two prizes. One for best dressed sponsored by Fox & Bow and one for best social media, sponsored by McCabes Pharmacy.  I was actually very lucky and won the prize for best social media! I couldn't believe it! The prize was massive, had to be worth a few hundred euro so you can expect to see lots of blog posts and reviews on all the products inside. There was also a goody bags that Sophie kindly organised for everyone. I went through the contents of the prize and goody bag on my latest vlogmas video which I will link here if you're interested.

Overall it was such a lovely day, the Castletroy park hotel was as always, gorgeous! Their afternoon tea was delicious and very reasonably priced! It was lovely to catch up with some of the girls and meet new bloggers too! Hopefully there's another one soon! 

Erin X 
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The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Face Mask Review

This face mask has been SOLD OUT worldwide pretty much ever since it was released! I was lucky enough to have bought it just before the hype began and just happened to have a voucher! I had heard Laura from Laura's Views compare it to the Glam Glow mask, which I'v never tried, but she said it was basically the same but half the price. So out I went and bought it and just in time too. I think they've only just restocked, perfect timing with Christmas coming up!

How do you use it? I like to use a brush to apply masks but you can use your fingers too. Apply a layer of the mask all over your face but avoid the eye and lip area. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes, or until it dries and then with warm with and a cotton pad, start to remove the mask in circular motions.

The result? I have slightly mixed feelings on this mask to be honest. I think it's a fantastic mask and I'm glad I have it. When it dries you can see how much crap it's pulled out of your pores, disgusting but oddly satisfying! It can get a little tingly at times but nothing major. However the removal process for me is not something I particularly enjoy! I have quite sensitive skin and if I'm the slightly bit quick or rough when removing the mask or leave it on too long I get red blotches and my skin can be little irritated.

I find the best way to use this mask is to apply a very thing layer, leave it on for 5 minutes and then with a cotton pad soak the area you're about to remove, making it all wet again as it lifts much easier. I always use a hydrating mask or moisturizer afterwards as it can leave your skin quite tight.  I always notice a difference in my skin immediately. It looks far less congested and just generally clean and clearer.

If you have extremely sensitive skin, maybe leave this mask and try Mask of Magnaminty from Lush. Otherwise this is a lovely mask that works wonders for oily/ acne prone skin. Also it's 100% vegan which is great!

Have you tried this mask? What did you think?

Erin X
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Limerick Style Event

Hi Everyone!

Last Friday I was invited alongside 20 top fashion bloggers to the #LimerickStyle event. The aim of the event was to showcase some of the amazing boutiques and businesses right here in Limerick. I was delighted to be able to take part.  It was a marvelous day that started off in the luxurious Savoy Hotel on Henry Street. On arrival, the first thing I noticed was the Christmas decorations & display. The garland and fairy lights that surround the entrance, a massive Christmas tree just inside the door, the hanging chandeliers that just ooze luxury and the smell, oh my god, heaven! You can see it all in my video linked at the end of this post! I was greeted by the manager and escorted upstairs to the rest of the bloggers. We enjoyed a champagne breakfast that included a big delicious fry up and of course, gorgeous champagne. We were treated like royalty in the Savoy by the staff (although any time I've been to the Savoy, I've been treated like royalty, the staff go above and beyond for their customers). We were all given a goody bag & took some professional photos and off we went to the first of our stops...

Our first stop was O Donnells Boutique on Catherine Street. If you haven't been in this store before, I'd highly recommend it. It is spacious, has the most gorgeous clothes and above all great prices. The store even won the award for best ladies fashion store this year! They have lots of different items in there, hats, jewellery, coats, dresses! I'd actually never been in there before but was delighted to have been shown around. I'll be back in for sure.

Next we went over to Lily. Limerick is home to Ireland's only Lily store with over 850 of them world wide. The store is actually owned by the same owner of O'Donnells boutique. Again I'd actually never been into this store but I was overwhelmed by the beautiful pieces of clothing on display. The store itself is bright, fun and trendy. Each item was genuinely amazing. It felt like every time I turned around in that shop there was something so new and different. If you're in Limerick definitely pop into Lily and have a browse around. 

Our next stop was Ryans Jewellers on Roches Street. Here we got to try on engagement rings....Need I say any more?? I was obsessed. So much sparkle. I was particularly in awe of an elephant necklace that they had on display. If you know me, you'll know I am beyond obsessed with elephants so I couldn't help but love the little dainty necklace with the cutest little elephant on the end. As for the engagement rings, I was in my element, let's be fair, there are worse ways to spend a Friday morning.

Up next was Vision 2 opticians on  Henry Street. We all had so much fun trying on the different styles and shapes of glasses. I show you a few in my video down below. I also learned that Vision 2 have the glasses with the blue screen block effect. In case you haven't heard of that before, basically I spend my life looking at a screen, be it for work, college or leisure. As a result my eyes are effected by the strong blue light that shines through the screens. By wearing a blue screen blocking pair of glasses, I can make sure my eyes aren't damaged. So you can literally pick any pair of glasses you want and then they will add the coating that protects your eyes. The cost is either €49 or €89 depending on the strength you want. I think I'll be investing in these after Christmas.

We also enjoyed a delicious lunch courtesy of Aroi Asian Cuisine who are located on O'Connell Street.  There were three different options and I went for fried pineapple rice & pork! YUM!!!

After lunch we headed up to the The Attic, a fabulous bridal boutique on Roches Street. The moment you walk in, it's so calm, bright and above all things, white!! I was in heaven looking at all of the wedding dresses. Some of the girls even tried on some. There was a stunning model, modelling all the different styles of dresses for us. I was just in awe. It was also really interesting to get a bit of the back story with some of the dresses, where they were made, the designers etc and to get tips on when you should start looking for dresses and all that jazz (12 months at least by the way).

Our last fashion store of the day was The Ivory Closet on Shannon Street. I was blown away by the gorgeous ball gowns and evening dresses. Another model was there to try on and show us all the dresses. Such beautiful dresses, honestly the most elegant gowns I've ever seen. They were the kind of designer inspired outfits you'd see on the red carpet at a big movie premier or something. AMAZING!!!

Then we enjoyed some Afternoon Tea in the Hook and Ladder on Sarsfield Street. I'd never been in there before but couldn't get over how peaceful and cute the restaurant was. It was like suddenly you weren't in the middle of busy limerick city but somewhere completely different away from all the hustle and bustle. If you go in there, I recommend heading down stairs to the booths with all the lovely cushions and fairy lights! We were treated to some delicious bites, my favourite was of course the Rocky Road Biscuit cake! 

Our very last stop of the day was in Ted's Bar for some Christmas Cocktails. Ted's Bar opened up only 6 weeks ago and I can already tell, it's the place to be. It's quirky, has great music and the best thing? The cocktails. Perfectly sweet and totally Instagram worthy. We were also treated to a little goody bag that had macaroons in them. Divine!!!

And after that it was time to go home! I had such an amazing time, I cannot thank the organizers and the businesses enough. It was just brilliant and great to have an event finally in Limerick, so that I can show off this fantastic city. Also most of the businesses gave away prizes, although I didn't win any they were incredibly generous. I genuinely cannot get over how amazing these businesses are. Please please take a few minutes the next time you're in the city and check them out. Especially the Savoy, I've already organised to have our annual Christmas drinks with the girls there as I just thought it was such a stunning place to relax and treat ourselves coming up to Christmas.

Below is my Vlog of the day. It's included in my weekly vlog so if you're not interested in my trip to Galway then you can cut to 11.30 in the video! Thank you so much for reading! 

Erin X

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Sleek Colour Correcting Palette Review

If you've read THIS post then you'll know I'm a little bit obsessed with colour correctors! I'm determined to try them all and report back on which ones actually do the job! I've had the sleek colour correcting palette for close to three months now so my opinion on it is fairly solid at this stage!

So what is a colour corrector and why are they so good? Basically a colour corrector neutralizes a particular colour in your skin to give you a blank canvas before applying the rest of your makeup. For example, I had acne for years which has left me with lots of red scars on my chin and jawline. I usually use the green corrector to cancel out the redness in my skin. It essentially conceals it. So when I go to apply my foundation, the redness is already concealed and I have a blank canvas to do my makeup.

This palette is broken up into six different shades (all cream, as most colour correcting palettes). Here's the purpose of all six shades...

Green -  neutralizes redness, great for covering any scars.
Lilac - neutralizes yellowness of the skin ie. brightens dull skin.
Blue - neutralizes orange, this is good if you want to cover any freckles.
Rose - really brightens the skin, I apply it to the high points of my face to act as a highlighter.
Yellow - neutralizes purples & reds, good for covering dark circles & red cheeks.
Orange - neutralizes blue, ie. under eye circles.

The main colours I use are the green (on my chin and jawline), the yellow ( on my cheeks) and the rose (on the high points of my face, ie. cheekbones, cupids bow etc). I don't really need to use the other shades but they're handy to have. The palette itself is a lovely size, it's quite sturdy, easy to open and has a handy mirror on the inside lid. It's ideal for travelling with as it's thin, light and doesn't take up much room.

Is it any good? Yes it's brilliant, I really do love it. I've already hit pan on the yellow. It's very creamy which means it's easy to blend. I usually apply it with a small stippling brush or with my fingers, then use Blank Canvas F20 to blend it out. After blending it out, it almost melts into your skin and that's when the magic happens!  It's not too oily or too stiff, it really is wonderful. I think it would be best suited to people with normal to dry skin types as it is a cream product. I also find that whatever foundation I wear over it always seems to last that little bit longer too. I also think it's worth mentioning that I have about 6 colour correcting palettes from different brands and since I got this one, I haven't even thought of picking up the others.

This nifty little palette is only €8.99 and available on DolledUp.ie as well as Boots.ie! Have you ever tried a colour corrector? What did you think? 

Erin X 
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Kinvara Absolute Cleansing Oil Review

Over the last two years my love for cleansing oils have grown and grown. I now pretty much only using cleansing oils to remove my makeup. Micellar water is grand and all but I just never find it as good as a cleansing oil. Over the last year, there's pretty much only been one oil that I've been using and that is the Kinvara Absolute Cleansing Oil.

How do you use it? Pump 1 or 2 drops onto your hands, warm it up slightly and apply it directly do your face. I usually use about 3 pumps as my eye makeup can be really heavy! I then message it onto my face for a minute or so and then wash it off with a hot face cloth. Make sure it is quite hot as I find if you use cold water or lukewarm water the oil almost sets or turns into a solid balm. You get a much better cleanse when the water is slightly hotter!

The oil is completely free of preservatives as it only contains plant oil extracts. The ingredients include, Sunflower oil, Sesame Oil,Watermelon oil, Thistle Oil, Rosemary Oil, Orange Peel Oil, Lemon Peel Oil, Cedar Wood Oil, Eucalyptus Oil and some essential oils too.  As you can see it's all organic.

I'm a big fan of the packaging too. The bottle contains 100ml of product. The bottle itself is a really hard plastic so there's no worrying about breaking it. It has a very handy pump and you can turn it left and right to open and close the pump, which means it's super easy to travel with.

Why do I like it? It is really good at removing makeup. It takes off my Inglot gel liner in no time and saves me scrubbing my face as it melts away the makeup. It also takes off all my mascara easily and best yet it doesn't leave my eyes feeling cloudy, which is a problem I've had with lots of oils. My face always feels clean and soft afterwards. It never feels dry or tight! To be honest, it's just a pure joy to use!

I'm now almost finished my second bottle and will 100% be picking up a third bottle. I haven't tried any other product from Kinvara but I am eager to try the rest of the range after having such a great result with this. The Absolute Cleansing Oil is €22.95 and can be bought HERE on their own website or in pharmacies nationwide.I picked mine up in a local pharmacy as they have a student discount!

Have you tried anything from Kinvara? Have you ever used a cleansing oil? 

Erin X
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