Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Favourite Things of 2013

We are probably a little behind on this post but we thought you might like to know some of our favorite things (who is singing like Maria from a Sound of Music after that?  I know I am) from 2013.

We can't really talk about 2013 without talking about the Cocoa Brown Tan range and its powerhouse creator Marissa Carter.  Marissa took an idea of creating a self tanner that took the hassle out of fake tanning. Cocoa Brown develops in 1 - 3 hours,  has a nice scent (and because it develops quickly you don't have the rotten biscuit smell and fake tan outline on your sheets), is a flattering natural shade, is safe for sensitive skin and most importantly is very affordable.  This tan has revolutionised  fake tanning and more than that, we would say it has saved many relationships (hubbies/partners complaining about the complexities of tanning are a thing of the past).  I think Cocoa Brown tan produces a beautifully natural colour that is so flattering on the skin.  I am not a big user of fake tan, it's generally too much faffing around - but Cocoa Brown has changed that.  

Marissa Carter wins Irish Start-Up of the Year by IMAGE Magazine  

Smashbox Eye Shadows - This year I have had a bit of a love affair with Smashbox - it's a brand that we just really associated with primers and while they do have a primer for possibly every skin type and body part they also have other fantastic products.  This year we have been blown away by the quality of their eye shadows.  Sometimes when brands produce eyeshadow palettes the quality of the shadows may not be as good as the regular shadows or there are a few dodgy shades/textures.  Not so with Smashbox - in some ways I am more obsessed with their limited edition palettes than I am with their trios.  Their spring launch - The Love Me (here) was the palette that really reintroduced us to the brand's eye shadows and they are FANTASTIC.  After a couple of months of wanting the summer palette I finally picked it up and I love it.  I didn't hold off for the Christmas sets, they were mine instantly.  9 out of 10 times I am wearing Smashbox eye shadows and they have quickly become my Holy Grail eyeshadow brand which is high praise indeed.  Not only do I love the texture and the consistency of the shadows (soft like butter but don't drop all over your face) I love the colour combinations.  Smashbox have recently released their Full Exposure palette which looks like a thing of beauty and I will be picking it up when my spending ban is over in March.  


My favourite hair treatment of the year was something I picked up on a whim in Boots and it's the Mark Hill MiracOILicious 2 Minute Intensive Treatment.  This is great if your hair is feeling a bit rubbish. It re hydrates and moisturises in no time,  I often leave it in for less than the 2 minutes (if you leave it in for too long your hair could actually be too soft).  I picked this up during the summer when my hair was a dry frizzy mess and it fixed things right up and its still kicking in my bathroom because you only need a tiny amount. 


In 2013 I was introduced to the brand Shiseido and I was pretty much blown away.  Their skin care line is amazing (with different ranges for different skin ages and concerns and also different ranges for different budgets) and their colour collection is pretty fantastic too.  I love their eye shadows and I would rate them fairly close to my holy grail Smashbox (their only downfall for me is their sometimes odd colour combinations).  The Perfect Rouge lipsticks are flipping fantastic - I have a red and a pink and they are one of my favourite lip products of the year.  I don't have many posts on the products yet but keep an eye out because they will be coming soon.  I am also obsessed with the Shiseido Foundation Brush.


As you may know I am a massive Stila fan (I may have mentioned it a million times or so). This year has been fantastic because Stila is not only available from Harvey Nicks in Dundrum but also online from Brown Thomas (here) so we can collect our BT loyalty points while shopping for Stila.  This year on my birthday the very lovely Stila people sent me a picture of ME as a Stila girl - can you imagine my excitement?  well multiply it by a million and you will have an idea of how excited I was.  Stila have continued to delight us with innovating products and this year saw the launch of the spendy but exquisite Magnificent Metal foil shadows. 


I have never really used a setting powder, I always think they make me look powdery and old.... but that was before Hourglass Ambient Powder.  If I am being honest I went to buy these twice and I walked away confused and underwhelmed.  It's freaking €45 for a powder and I don't even use powder.  When I swatched them I wasn't impressed.  I just didn't get it.  When the Limited Edition trio came out I picked it up and thought, yeah I suppose its kinda pretty on the skin.  Then every time I wore the ambient powders I started to get compliments on how great I looked ?  I didn't really think I looked great or any different than normal and the only thing different in my routine was the ambient powders.  The powders make you look like you're sitting in a certain kind of "ambient" light, for instance incandescent, radiant and dim light are in the palette.  I am sold on the ambient powders and although I have a trio and don't need another I will definitely be picking more up.  Who doesn't want to look incandescent?


Trish McEvoy Makeup Planner might be a bit spendy but it sure is the chicest way to carry your makeup around.  While this petite planner is a little too big for me to lug around in my handbag everyday, it's perfect for a weekend away or to tuck away in your drawer at work.



I almost forget about Lancome Teint Visionnaire, for me it has quietly become a staple in my makeup collection.  Teint V is a foundation, a serum and a concealer in one. While I don't really use the concealer, the foundation is amazing.  It lasts all day (or all evening) leaving my skin looking younger (that would be the Visionnaire), fresh and perfectly covered (but not caked).  When I wear this I have been complimented on my skin - I am confident that if I wear it my skin looks fantastic.   If I want my skin to look good this is my go to foundation.  It's really as simple as that. 


Do you like bronzer?  Even if the answer is no, you need Bourjois Bronzing Primer in your life.  Ignore the  word primer in the title - this is basically a creamy bronze product which is the perfect shade.  The consistency of the product almost mimics the skin in the sun - you know if you're in the sun your skin looks fresh and dewy, powder bronzers can look dry and flat which is the opposite of how naturally sunkissed skin looks - I wore this every day during the summer and while I haven't reached for it so much over the winter I am itching to get my hands on it again.  Bourjois make fantastic products for the face some of which could compete with high end products. 


La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 - I never thought I would need this cream which is a cure all for skin complaints (think eczema or even nappy rash) but this year it has saved my life on a number of occasions.  A number of times I had random dry skin break outs and Cicaplast fixed me up in 2 days.  I am amazed at not only how effective the cream is but also how quickly it works. It is literally a wonder cream.  I will NEVER be without it.


Wanna see my favourite lip product in my favourite colour? 

Ta da its Armani Lip Maestro in the number 500 which is a blush colour.  Hands up who thought I would have picked a slag pink?  There is something about the consistency of this lip product - it's matte but it's not a matte - which makes the lips feel and look fantastic and the shade 500 is a beautiful natural blush colour.  This is my "good" lip product that I wear on special occasions.  I love how naturally pretty it makes the face look.  I am obsessed.


Not one, not two, but three Clarins products make it into our 2013 favourites. The Instant Eye Make-up Remover is the best we've ever tried, removing even the toughest eye make-up in one sweep. It even gets rid of Benefit's They're Real mascara with no bother, which is the real test of any remover. Our only gripe with it is the price - €22 is more than we would usually spend on an eye make up remover - however we're currently testing a budget option that's a possible dupe. Watch this space! Instant Light Lip Perfector is the perfect my-lips-but-better product, offering colour, conditioning and shine all in one tube with a handy sponge applicator. Mags posted about this here. Instant Concealer is a deadly little concealer to have in your stash. It works on under eyes and blemishes, is very pigmented and it doesn't cake. A little goes a long way so this 15 ml tube will last you ages. 


BB - for us BB doesn't stand for BB Cream (just the term BB cream grates me), it stands for Breaking Bad.  While I am a bit of a TV fiend (apart from soaps and reality TV I am pretty much open to watching anything) Sile is a little more discerning with her TV time.  When I told her I was watching Breaking Bad she just thought it was another one of my programmes (Mags is watching her stories)  but after one or two episodes she was sucked in staying up all night to get her fix of Walter White and Jessie Pinkman.   It can be funny, heartbreaking and downright disturbing but mostly its really addictive.



Remember I said I didn't watch reality TV ?  I lied just a tiny bit, if there is one programme that sucks me in it's Fat: The Fight of My Life with the delicious trainer Jessie Pavelka.   Most weight loss programmes end with the "fat person" all trussed up and made up, they have to stand and pose uncomfortably.  Not so with Fat: The Fight of My Life this programme focuses on changing the whole mind set of people who literally will be dead if they don't change their ways - their fat is literally killing them.  Instead of being a mean trainer Jessie (I can call him Jessie, we are tight) greets the people with a hug and deals with emotional eating and food addiction.  For him weight loss is almost a side effect of people changing their lives.  At the end of the programme where we follow the person for a year they face a challenge but instead of it being a fashion shoot it's a fitness challenge and there is nothing more inspirational than seeing somebody literally climb a mountain.  I like to record a couple of episodes and binge on them.

I could chat about TV for ages but I should end it there.


I cant wait to see what 2014 has for us.  Bring it on.
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