Thursday, 28 April 2016

Rimmel Lasting Finish Contour Liner in Tiramisu


I know. Another close up of my facial features. This is part of an ongoing effort to demonstrate the makeup I'm wearing and testing out on a daily basis, in detail. This may mean that you start seeing some not entirely glowing reviews from me; something I've tried to avoid. I don't like being a negative nancy but I feel that in the spirit of honesty it is important to showcase my dislikes on the blog and not just on my social media which is where I've voiced those opinions in the past. 

This of course allows me to offer a lot more content. Im quite fussy and I'm hoping that my stamina lasts. 

Today is not a negative review though. It is a happy one! A lot is made of the Rimmel Lasting Touch lip pencils and rightly so. They are lovely. I picked up the colour Tiramisu because I have at least 8 lipsticks that will match this pencil. I do love a pinky brown nude. 

My one issue with these pencils is that they are sold as contour pencils rather than the lip liner that they really are. Why does every last feature on our bodies have to be contoured?! I love beauty and makeup but it is a frightening trend within the industry that everything has to be contoured to perfect. Perfection culture is damaging our perception of our natural selves and it's so upsetting to see young girls falling for it because of 18 year old celebrities who've never had to do their own makeup, much less a proper days work, say that they should be contoured and have lip fillers. It grinds my gears. 

But that is a WHOLE other blog. These are lip liners and should be used as such. Besides... It's not actually dark enough to make any form of contouring stand out and I am super pale.  


Above you'll see the pencil on its own. As mentioned previously, it's a lovely pinky toned soft brown which blends just right to my inner lip colour. Below you'll see it with paired with two Inglot lipsticks. Inglot 216 on the top lip and 226 on the bottom lip. They are almost identical to each other except that 216 contains a subtle shimmer giving it a frost finish rather than 226's cream finish. I have also paired it with a Diego Dalla Palma lipstick I shall be talking about in an upcoming post. Stay tuned for that. 


If you watch my social media you will have seen this lip a lot. In fact it's quite handy that I'm posting about this match today as the new Inglot Belfast store is opening this weekend (Saturday 30th April 2016) and I've just reminded myself that I need repurchase a new 226, as well as a few other Inglot goodies. Well it would be rude not to!





Monday, 25 April 2016

6 Game of Thrones locations you can visit in a day


If you don't know that I'm a massive Game of Thrones fan then where have you been? I'm a huge fan of the show and although I haven't read all of them, I would say that I am a fan of the books too. I just made a very conscious decision not to finish them until after the show because it is moving faster. Last year myself and Sarah went to a Game Of Thrones Banquet in The Cuan in Strangford. The whole evening was built around a menu derived from the books and we got lots of stories about actors who had stayed in the hotel whilst filming in the nearby castle. One thing you realise when you start visiting Game Of Thrones locations in Northern Ireland is just how many castles we have here. Its rather a lot.

Ever since then I've been begging Sarah to take me out on a location hunt. Given that everywhere in Northern Ireland is pretty much a two hour drive from where I live, its criminal that I don't get out to see the sights more often. This weekend was our day. We decided to visit as many locations as we could in one day and conveniently enough we didn't have to stray from my home county of Antrim.


Shane's Castle 

This is home territory for me. I live five minutes from Shane's Castle, spent my childhood summers camping here as a Girl Guide, and come every year for the Irish Game Fair to snoop on the food stalls. I've never been able to explore it the way we did this weekend though because its usually all fenced off during public open days. It was wonderful to finally get down to the waters edge and see the castle keep from below. I can't even begin to explain how amazing it was to sneak on to the working set (fully ignoring the keep out signs on the broken fence) and down in to the crypt. This set has been home to many different scenes and locations in the series but when I was there I didn't care about any of that, I was just loving the ability to explore the ancient ruins themselves. 












Moneyglass Castle 

Another Castle but alas this was our biggest fail of the trip. We drove round the whole estate trying to get a close up view of the castle without actually trespassing on private property (I don't mind wandering in through a broken gate of an abandoned castle but I draw the line at a locked one with a working farmhouse sat beside it). Still, we enjoyed the picturesque drive towards Toome so all was not lost. Moneyglass is another working set so fully expect to see it pop up during the upcoming season 6.



game of thones locations moneyglass castle
Image via TheSarahStory.com
The Dark Hedges

One of Nothern Irelands most iconic views even before the series filmed there and really made it famous. The Dark Hedges set the scene for The Kings Road in the series. Much like the series they've had a troublesome winter with a few of the trees being blown over by the winds and a major SNAFU by the road service when they accidentally re-tarmacked and drew lines on the road! Thankfully the lines were removed and the view is once again undisturbed by modern eye-sores. Unless you happen to be one of those people who parks in the middle of the road and blocks everyone else's view.



Sarah getting mighty upset at some hapless tourists spoiling our view

Ballintoy Harbour

Those watching my Snapchat will have seen my blonde moment as a briefly called this Port Ballintoy. I corrected myself quickly though and then took a stroll across the harbour bay. Ballintoy is one of the "Official" tour locations so you can often see people dressed up in cosplay and heading off to recreate their favourite scenes (and pretend to be Alfie Allen coming home to the Iron Islands). It is also a beautiful place by itself, popular with locals to go and grab a sausage bap and watch the sun rise. It also has some spectacular caves.







Larrybane 

Just up the road from Ballintoy is Larrybane. Lets be honest with ourselves, Larrybane is a quarry. It's not the most exciting place in the world when it's not acting as a huge settlement in the show. Mostly it is used as overspill for the nearby Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge, which is a popular tourist attraction for those crazy enough to walk across a shakey old rope bridge without safety nets over a whacking great big chasm... did I ever mention I don't like heights or bridges? If you venture beyond the cliffs, however, you will get a lovely view of the ocean and even see a few of those very familiar Iron Islands from a different angle.




Murlough Bay

Of all the locations we saw on this day, Murlough Bay was easily in my top two and thoroughly worth the extremely hairy drive down the very very steep hill. Although it is possible to drive the last league of the journey we actually decided to park up and walk along the road to the bay itself. It is a stunning area and completely remote. I couldn't believe it when we reached the bay and found that there are actually two tiny houses there. People live with this amazing view everyday! I was extremely jealous and shall be keeping an eye out on Airbnb... just in case.
Fans of the show will note that Murlough bay is actually home to two different locations within the show. Renly Baratheon's Camp was filmed in a field at the top of the hill but the worthy site is Slavers Bay which you see here. Totally worth the screams you will inevitably scream as you descent.






The lovely Sarah
Stay tuned for more locations as we are going to make an effort to see as many as we can. Prizes for those who can get us on to working sets!

Monday, 18 April 2016

Faeriwood Kitchen: Frozen Fish Pie


With dietary woes come big dietary problems. On being discharged from hospital I was given a whole heap of tablets and a simple instruction from my doctor: "You'll need to follow a low residue diet". That's great and all Doc' but what the heck is a low residue diet?! Of course me being me I immediately hit Google and discovered that Low Residue (or similarly Low Fibre) is a diet prescribed for IBD patients in order to avoid making the digestive tract angry and prevent further flare ups. I was initially horrified when I realised that all the foods I was finding consisted of toast, plain chicken, plain eggs, and clear broths. Even blended soups were put out with a warning: "chicken or tomato only". Vegetables were almost entirely banished save a few root veg that were only okay if cooked to a pulp. Yuck. And the same was said with Fruit. Anything seedy or fibrous was out and deep fried fatty foods (including red meat) were also on the no list. My greatest heartbreak was the loss of the Allium family; garlic, leeks, onions, chives, all of these were out. Heartbroken.   
On the yes list? White breads and pastas, rice, plain chicken and fish, bananas, eggs, and oats were all fine as was a very minuscule amount of Dairy but given that I have problems with Lactose I am gonna be very careful with that one. I'm sorry but there is no way I was living my life on plain chicken sandwiches and egg-in-a-cup. Although I do love egg-in-a-cup. So I kept digging and digging and found that as long as I avoided complex spiced dishes or anything with a chilli kick I could flavour my dishes no problem. Ginger, with it's anti-inflammatory properties, was OK as were most Italian and traditionally British green herbs. I also realised very quickly that I would have good days and bad days so fresh food was going to be an expensive waste if I was having a couple of bad days. 
This led me to my next bright idea. Frozen ingredients. There are an amazing range of products in our supermarkets at the moment all ready to throw together and most are available to cook from frozen. And I had, conveniently, just  bought a new freezer. 
So after a quick (everything I do has to be quick these days) trip to Iceland (the frozen foods mecca) I was now stocked and ready to go, I just had to wait until I was ready to eat something stronger than homemade chicken broth. 
And that day came with my urge for Fish Pie. To the freezer! And yes everything (but the eggs, flour, and butter) came from my freezer.

Ingredients
500ml Chicken Broth (homemade) 
2 Frozen Fillet Hake
3 Frozen Fillet Smoked Haddock
500g Frozen Seafood mix (or enough to fill your pie dish half way full with the other 2 fillets)
2 medium Eggs 
2 Tbsp Frozen Parsley 
2 Tbsp Plain Flour
2 Tbsp Butter (did you know that real butter was Lactose Free?) 
650g Frozen mashed Potato (or enough to cover the pie mix) 

First off you have to melt the broth and bring it to a simmer, then add the hake and haddock to the broth and poach for about 10 minutes. If you were just making poached fish they would take another 5 minutes to fully cook but because we're going to be baking the pie we don't need to take them all the way. Whilst you're poaching, separately boil the 2 eggs to a medium hard boil and set them aside to cool enough to peel. Remove the fish from the poaching liqueur and, whilst you're allowing it to cool, mash up the butter and flour into a paste and add it to the liquid. This is a cheats roux and is ridiculously easy, working the flour into butter helps distribute it and you don't get clumps or a raw flour taste. Whisk until the sauce is smooth and add the parsley, then reduce until the sauce is super thick. Almost too thick. Remember that those frozen foods are going to release a lot of moisture so you want to minimise the amount of liquid you add to the dish or else you end up with a yummy seafood chowder rather a pie.

Now we assemble. 

Cut up the eggs (or leave them whole if you prefer) and place them in the fish mix, my frozen mix was made up of prawns, mussels and squid rings which is why I added the white fish. You can use any fix mix depending on your preference. A lot of people like Salmon, I personally think cooked Salmon is the most boring and flavourless food known to man. Go with your heart. Pour the sauce over and then stack the frozen potato nibs over so that it is completely covered. The first time I made this I covered the dish over with foil but honestly this kept too much liquid (remember the chowder?), the second time I left it uncovered and baked at 200°C fan for about 65 minutes. Made sure to fork up the mash to give it that traditional pie look after about 15 minutes then let it get golden and crispy.

Et Voila! 

Frozen Fish Pie. 

I defy anyone who doesn't know how this was made to say that this is not a milk based sauce. I think I shall be using this sauce quite a bit in different pies and bakes from now on, it is extremely versatile. 

Oh and did I mention you can freeze the leftovers? Of course you can! This recipe serves 6 and thanks to the wonders of MyFitnessPal you can see that it clocks in at only 325 calories per portion! I guess that leaves room for dessert!






Thursday, 14 April 2016

Rimmel Magnif'eyes: a double ended meh



It is well documented that due to my sensitive skin and overactive tear ducts I tend to avoid eyeliners. I've experimented with all types of liner; kohl, liquid, gel, powder. You name it, I've tried it and cried it off. 

Rimmel Magnif'eyes is the latest in a short line of crayon style kohl eyeliners that I've tried and I was really hoping for more from it. The pointed liner tip and rounded shimmery shadow stick are both beautfully soft and creamy. Too soft actually... Too creamy. They don't set! Every time I blinked I could feel them shift on my skin and crease in my lid and this was after I had spent a good five minutes blending out the shadow to make it look acceptable. 

Now I don't normally write reviews like this. I firmly believe that if you don't have something nice to say then don't say anything at all. But I do think there are people who would like this product. I think if you want to practice your blending skills but don't have the confidence to dip into multiple eyeshadows then this could be for you. If you're going for a serious grungey look but, again, don't want to use a tonne of different products or spend a huge amount of time on it then this could also be the one. Or if you want to completely forget that they eyeshadow stick exists and just want to use it as a super soft liner crayon then this may be your port of call. Although personally I'd go for the £1 Primark kohl crayon instead. They're pretty much exactly the same and you'll save a fiver. 

I purchased my Magnif'eyes at Boots for 
£6.99. 


Thursday, 7 April 2016

Budget Beauty Brushes: are they really worth it?

I know what you're thinking. A second bargain beauty post in a row? Maybe switch it up eh? Ummmm nope. I love my premium makeup items, I really do. But I love finding a bargain beauty buy just as much, if not more.

Today I'm talking brushes. There seems to be an incredible range of brushes out there at the minute. Whether it's high end, mid range, or budget, there is something for everyone and there is usually a dupe (or shall we just call them copies?)

Today I'm looking at budget brushes including one of those infamous copies.

7 piece set for 5.69






An obvious replica of the Real Techniques Precious Metal brushes and at first glance the only difference is that these don't have RT stamped on the side. The design, the colours, the shapes are exactly the same! I've never used the real Real Techniques ones but I'd have to say if I spent £30 or more on these I'd be hugely disappointed. Having only spent a fiver I'm really chuffed. The larger brushes are good for powders work. Of the smaller brushes I've found a great brush for doing my eyebrows and a lovely brush for applying concealer (although I do use an additional blending brush/sponge). These are pretty and they do have their uses but they are not detail brushes. If you're looking precision application then these are not the ones but then I'm not entirely sure the originals would be either. 

Kainuoa Brushes EBay  
10 piece set currently priced 3.99 (down from 4.99 and differing colours go as low as 3.89)




This Kabuki set is reminiscent of several different brush brands out there at the moment so I wouldn't say its ripping off any particular one of them as the previous set does. They are a short handled set so are great for sticking in your makeup bag or using for travel. When it comes to the uses they are all quite similar with the exception of a very densely packed tapered face brush. I've been experimenting using them with both cream and powders and so far I prefer their cream uses (foundation, contour, concealing, etc), you don't lose too much product in the bristles and they're super soft so you can get stuck in to blend those scary cream blushes without worrying about hurting yourself. I'm also trying to get the hang of using kabuki style eye brushes. It's not something I've used before and it's interesting. The great thing about these is their versatility. You really can use them for whatever you prefer. 

Mio Mare brush set from Lidl
7 piece set for 5.99


The thing I love about Lidl is that not only do you get economy but you also get quality. The thing that bugs me is that unless you stalk the shops on delivery day every Thursday you are likely to miss out on the gem items. I almost missed out on these Mio Mare brushes but it was thanks to a friend who picked up the very last set in her nearest store and sent them down to me that I have them. Why am I telling you about a brush set that you can't buy? Because you need to keep an eye out for when they bring them back! The brushes are soft and workable. And although you are told what to use the smaller flat brushes for, you can use them for whatever you like. I've been using them a detail cream brushes for concealing and colour correcting. The pouch is also very handy for travel. 

So are budget brushes really worth it? Well you will end up with quite a lot of general powder brushes. If you like to change your colours every day but don't want to ages cleaning each brush after each use then you might want to stock up on a few of these sets. If, however, you want precision brushes with very specific uses then you'll need to go elsewhere. I found the eyeliner brushes in these sets pretty useless for getting a fine line and instead I use them for brows. I also noticed that there are no real blending eye brushes although I am going to experiment with the kabuki brushes to set if I can get a good blend with those. In summary I would say that each of these sets are a great starting point but they won't be the end of your collection. But then maybe that's just the makeup addict in me speaking...