Tuesday, 30 July 2013

face mask essentials

Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel, Sanctuary Thermal Detox Mask, Origins Drink Up Intensive

Face masks are probably my favourite part of my skincare routine - I love the almost instant gratification that you get after using a good one and I find it so much easier and more satisfying to use a weekly treatment than to remember to use different daily solutions for months on end. Different products are rotated depending on what my skin needs, but there are three solid categories I consider essential; a radiance boosting exfoliating number, a detoxifying charcoal mask and something for an often necessary moisture boost. Within these categories I have my long time favourites and different ones to chop and change with. One of my favourite things to do once weekly is a pamper evening inspired by Anna's 'Triple Threat Facial' and do one after the other in order to give my skin an often essential kick up the arse.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Thursday, 18 July 2013

hot weather essentials

Boots Botanics Rosewater toning spritz, La Roche Posay Anthelios AC sun protection, Illamasqua Light Liquid foundation in 115, Topshop nails in Rumours & Lies, Illamasqua cream pigment in Hollow, Korres lip butter in Jasmine

The nice weather is still going strong here in Dublin and this is probably the longest period of sunshine we've had in the past five years. I'm not used to this heat and I don't particularly like it but I've been making an effort to adapt my routine - mainly with regards to makeup - to suit the warmer weather.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

going to the zoo

The other day my boyfriend decided to take advantage of the good weather and actually do something that wasn't lying on the couch in a vegetative state, spooning Kettle Chips into our mouths and watching The Dark Knight Rises. I haven't been to the zoo since I was about ten years old and didn't realise how nice our zoo actually is! I had a great time cooing at the meerkats and red pandas but we made the mistake of going on the hottest day of the year so far so a lot of the animals were hiding or sleeping in shelter! I thought I'd share some photos with you as well as my first outfit post on here! I doubt this will be a regular occurrence but I would love to do more 'fashion' posts on here. I know all black is not so suitable for weather above 25 degrees but honestly with that much skin on show it's all I feel comfortable in! Top and playsuit are from Topshop, with bag and shoes sourced from Ebay.

Monday, 8 July 2013

a few favourites

Maybelline Super Stay nail polish in Mint for Life, Make Up For Ever Aqua Brows in 40, Illamasqua concealer in CC125, Lush Retread conditioner, Clarins exfoliating toner, Sigma E05 eyeliner brush

Recently I've been using a few new products in my hair, skincare and makeup routines and a few have really stood out to me and I felt the need to share them. Think of it as a late June favourites!
I grabbed this Maybelline polish after seeing it featured on two of my favourite blogs (1 & 2) - it's a little more subtle and a lot more pastel than Essie Mint Candy Apple and application is fast and easy thanks to the thick brush. I've been using the MUFE Aqua Brow gel since Christmas and recently I've been enjoying using it more and more as the colour is spot on for my dark hair. The Illamasqua concealer was grabbed on a recent trip to Belfast (there's no Illamasqua counter in the Republic of Ireland!) and I've already made a sizeable dent in the full coverage cream - it's similar to MAC Studio Finish or Bobbi Brown creamy concealer but the colour is spot on for someone as far as I am. I bought Lush 'Retread' deep conditioner about two weeks ago and I've been addicted as it's perfect for smoothing out my damaged ends and I've been using it as a treatment every time I wash my hair. The Clarins toner needs no introduction after being featured in a recent skincare post, however a few weeks down the line and I love it more than ever! Finally, this Sigma E05 brush has definitely achieved holy grail status in my brush collection and I don't think I could do gel eyeliner without it; it's the perfect shape and density for achieving make-up artist approved flicks.

What are your current favourites and what do you think of my picks?

Friday, 5 July 2013

go-to evening makeup

Nars eyeshadow in Mekong, NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in French Fries, Urban Decay Naked palette, Sigma E30, MAC 217, Sephora Crease brush, Sigma E25.

I have about three blog posts in Drafts that are each showcasing a different eye makeup look, or so I thought. On further inspection every eyeshadow look I wear seems to be identical. This one, however, is my current favourite. It didn't photograph too well as the sun was setting as I frantically attempted to photograph my made up face, however lots of people seemed to like it when I instagrammed it that night. Simply put, it's my go-to cut crease but with this incredible 70% cocoa Nars eyeshadow in 'Mekong', buffed through the crease, intensified with a matte black shadow and blended out with my two favourites from my old faithful Naked palette, 'Buck' and 'Smog' to warm it up and flatter my blue eyes. I also smudged my favourite NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in 'French Fries' into my waterline and lower lashline, and blended out with the three shadows mentioned above. To bring it all together a heavy dose of gel eyeliner was required before adding mascara and corner lashes - I used some old Ardell 101 Demi's cut to desired size.

By no means am I a makeup artist or is this a tutorial, I just liked how I did my makeup that night. While there is a ton of blending required I don't think this is a difficult look to achieve and the same pattern can be followed with any eyeshadows - I love using my Naked 2 palette to achieve a more cool toned look, or the Naked Basics eyeshadows for an everyday, retro matte effect.

What's your favourite makeup to wear on a night out? What do you think of my interpretation of an evening look?

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

the big two-one

Ten days ago saw the passing of my twenty-first birthday. I wasn't interested in marking the occasion with a party; and instead spent the day with my boyfriend and a handful of relatives plus a couple of other dinner meetings with friends in the weeks that followed. There's nothing more mortifying to me than being sung happy birthday to so this suits me fine. While I don't feel any different being a year older, recent events and decisions have left me feeling more confident and ready for what this year will bring. I've decided to stay in Ireland to finish my degree - a dilemma that had been plaguing me for months, and I've never felt more relieved to come to a decision. I've been meeting with old friends, working harder and more often and making an effort to be sociable. It's hard and my laziness/social reluctance gets in the way sometimes but I'm feeling a lot more confident recently. I'm taking the plunge to start a half-sleeve tattoo and I'm going to make a big change to my hair. I'm feeling good and it took a birthday and a little push to realise that maybe the people in my life don't hate me as much as I think they do.

I'm so grateful to my friends, family and boyfriend for the last few weeks. The main gift I received was an iPhone 5 (!!!) and I cannot put into words how lucky I feel. An iPhone has been at the top of my wishlist for years but I never dreamed I'd actually have one, it was the biggest surprise I've ever gotten. It's become my baby and I've hardly put it down since I got it. I've been addicted to Instagram since having a proper camera to use it with, so follow me for gratuitous selfies and photos of Vanilla Coke! @serenaelliott

Since payday and my birthday fell within a week of each other, my shopping habits have spiralled out of control. I've been feeling a little reckless with money but I'm over the moon with my new purchases. I bought some much needed new clothes including some cute dresses (1 & 2), some amazing tshirts in the Urban Outfitters sale, some basics (34 and a H&M jersey dress) as well as killer new boots. I also bought some new makeup including my new favourite red lipstick, the Bobbi Brown corrector (Porcelain Bisque), MAC Studio Fix Fluid (NW10), a blueberry-scented nail polish and a new face mask.

I hope you've all been having a good summer so far - if you've been shopping lately let me know what you've bought! Or don't, as if I need any more temptation...