50 Things That Make Me Happy (Part 6)

Most of you will know by now that every month I share a post on all the things making me happy. Sometimes we have bad days, sometimes we have great days, either way, it’s so important to not let the bad things get you down. For me, I’ve found that by practicing gratitude and listing all the things that make me happy, the few bad things pale in comparison and it makes me feel so much better.

It’s been a busy month since I shared my last 50 Things That Make Me Happy post. So much has been going on – I’ve been to some amazing events for Autumn product launches, I’ve been booking tours and started packing for my travels, but perhaps the most exciting thing of all is that today, my amazing sister is getting married! Eeek, excitement squeal!

We are back in my favourite place in the world, Ballymaloe House in Cork, where Dave and I got married last December and where my lovely sister is getting married today. It’s also the place where our other sister got married ten years ago so that will show you just how much we love it here.

Being with all my family in this place brings back so many amazing, special memories from my childhood and growing up, to all the family events we’ve celebrated here over the years. It really makes me extra grateful today for my wonderful family, hubby and all the great things I have in my life.

I’m also very grateful that I’ve had much of the Summer off work to focus on writing and growing my blog, and it’s really given me time to think about what actually makes me happy and what I want to do with the rest of my life. I’m not quite there yet but I think I’m going in the right direction anyway.

So here are the 50 things that are making me happy this month:

  • Wedding week
  • Product launches
  • Tea
  • Cosy jumpers
  • Candles
  • Book shopping
  • Laughing
  • Baking
  • Reconnecting with old friends
  • Obsessing over interiors on Pinterest

  • My new camera
  • Travel shopping
  • My new eyebrows
  • Hugs
  • Losing weight
  • Pretty flowers
  • Spring cleaning in September
  • Saturday nights on the couch
  • Taking trips down memory lane
  • Star prints

  • Writing
  • Gilmore Girls
  • Holiday packing
  • Meeting up with my fellow bloggers
  • Red wine
  • Slippers
  • Fresh autumn air
  • Getting dressed up for a night out
  • Spending time with those I love most in the world
  • Exploring new things

  • Having all my family together
  • Duvet days
  • Face masks
  • Pasta
  • Event planning
  • Walks in the park
  • Reading
  • Breakfasts with my parents
  • Hot Baths
  • Growing my social media following

  • Meditation
  • Travel research for our trip
  • Girly catch ups
  • Dark lip colors
  • Ballymaloe House
  • Making new memories
  • Daily holiday countdowns
  • Helpful people
  • Ankle boots
  • Being more mindful

If you’ve never sat down and written out all the things that make you happy, I really suggest giving it a try. There’s no better way to give yourself a good pick me up, especially if you’re not having the best of days.

Now I must run and go get beautified, bridesmaid duties call after all…

Happy Friday!

Sorcha x

 

 

 

 

 

Review | Kiehl’s Cactus Flower & Tibetan Ginseng Hydrating Mist

A couple of weeks back I picked up a new hydrating face mist from Kiehl’s. As products go, I haven’t ever really used a face mist but while picking up some of my usual Kiehl’s favourites, the lovely lady in the shop convinced me that I just had to try their new Cactus Flower & Tibetan Ginseng Hydrating Mist.

Initially I was a bit dubious, I mean a face mist sounded a bit gimmicky to me. But, not one to ever shy away from a challenge, I decided to buy it and add it to my collection of new products to try out.

The mist contains some incredible ingredients; the cactus flower plant is rich in amino acids and B vitamins which helps the skin retain moisture, while tibetan ginseng apparently increases skin cell respiration which brightens up dull skin and helps to keep it looking youthful.

After just one spray I realised one very important thing – I needed a face mist in my life! Apart from smelling absolutely divine, it was really refreshing and felt great on my skin. I don’t know that I could say it was moisturising or anything, but it definitely made my face look fresher and left my skin with a soft, smooth feel.

I love the idea of having this in my handbag and being able to have a quick spritz throughout the day to freshen my face up.  You can spray it on anytime with or without makeup on, and I think it even helped me sleep better too. Sounds crazy I know, but I’ve been going through a bad sleeping spell so the other night decided to spray this on my face before bed and I’m pretty convinced the lavender oil in the formula sent me drifting off to the land of nod. Yes I hear you, coincidence and all that, but maybe not. Lavender is known for its sleep aiding properties after all!

The product works, it’s lovely in fact, so now the only thing left for me to consider is whether a face mist is worth the €22.50 price tag that accompanies it. My honest answer is I don’t know yet, but I have to say I’m really loving this right now. One of the things the Keihl’s lady told me it’s great for is keeping your skin hydrated and fresh on long haul flights, so with my big trip and lots of flights coming up in a few weeks, I’m looking forward to seeing if it stands up to the test.

The mist comes in two sizes, the 75ml bottle costs €22.50 as mentioned above, and the 125ml bottle is €32.50. It is a little on the pricey side, but I’m using mine about two weeks now and haven’t even made a dent in it yet so I’m assuming this is going to last me a very long time. Again, I’ll keep you posted.

I think this is a love or hate is kind of product, it’s not going to be for everyone, but I’ve certainly been converted into a mist lover now!

Sorcha x

Eyebrows | Microblading and Me

Microblading, embrowdery, 3D feathering; there are many names, but they all do the same wonderfully glorious thing, they all give you semi permanent eyebrows. For the purposes of this post, let’s stick with the term microblading.

Two weeks ago I had my first experience with microblading and let me tell you it’s been an interesting ride. For those of you who don’t know, microblading is a semi permanent form of makeup most commonly used on the eyebrow area. Using a tiny hand tool and cosmetic tattoo pigments, feather like strokes are drawn on to the brow area to create the illusion of a full, natural, defined eyebrow. Because these feather strokes are so fine, they look very like the hair that naturally grows on your eyebrows and therefore have become the answer to many women’s prayers, including my own.

You see, my story begins at the tender age of about 18 months when my eyebrows changed forever. One sunny morning Mum dropped me off to creche as she always did on her way to work. I don’t remember as I was so young at the time, but this particular day when she came to collect me, I had two big cuts on my eye. One on the inner crease of my eye, and the second along my eyebrow bone. Now when I say cuts, I mean pretty substantial cuts on my left eye. The first was in the centre of my brow and about an inch long, and the second was a rather substantial chunk of skin hanging off my eye area.

Naturally Mum got the fright of her life, especially when she discovered the woman who owned the creche had cut me with a scissors. A SCISSORS. I had plaster on my face (from a small graze I already had) and in her infinite wisdom, this woman thought the best way to get it off was to take a scissors to my eye. In the process, she managed to leave me with two significant scars for life.

Get to the point I hear you say…

As I child I didn’t even notice my eyebrows, I was more consumed with playing Tip the Can and having sleepovers in my friends houses every weekend. Fast forward thirteen years however and things change. I was starting to become aware of fashion, how I looked, and how I wanted to look. I was self conscious like most teenage girls, I was chubby, I had boy short frizzy hair, I had bushy eyebrows and bucked teeth. All in all, those years were not kind to me in the beauty stakes.

While bushy brows were all the rage in the 80’s, in the early 90’s it was all about plucking and I’m guessing it was about 1993/1994 when I discovered tweezers for the first time. It was almost as profound a moment for me as when I realised there was a thing called makeup that could actually change the way I looked. Holy shit! A new world was opening up to me and I was ready to embrace it.

So taking my tweezers, and not having a clue what the hell I was doing, I began plucking away. What my thirteen year old self didn’t realise however, was, as my scar was situated right in the centre of my brow, if I removed the hair under it, I would be left with practically nothing above it. And of course that’s exactly what happened. But did I stop there? Oh no, I just kept on going and in a moment of utter teenage panic, plucked away most of the hair in my left brow then did the same to my right brow so it would match.

That was probably the worst beauty decision I ever made and I still regret it all these years later. In fact, if I was writing one of those letters to my teenage self now, that would be first on my list of things not to do.

Fast forward another twenty years and the beauty industry has come a long way. Who knew that one day there would be a way for me to right the wrongs of my teenage past? Well, you can imagine my excitement the day I became aware of microblading for the first time. It was one of those weird moments in life where you’re so excited, but also terrified so you kind of just carry on like nothing has changed. That’s what I did.

You see initially I thought microblading was permanent and I really wasn’t sure about all these small ‘lines’ I kept reading about. I mean what if it all went terribly wrong and I ended up with twigs and branches coming out of my eyebrows for the rest of my life?  Nope, no thank you. Quite frankly the whole thing scared the crap out of me so I pushed the idea to the back of my mind and carried on with my trusty brow pencil as you do.

That was, until about six months ago when a very good friend of mine told me she was thinking of getting it done. She had been researching it for ages, knew all the different techniques, how it worked, how long it lasted, where to get it done, where not to get it done. You name it, she knew it. She’s great like that. Anyway, not long after our conversation she went ahead with the procedure and the end result was amazing. And I don’t mean kind of great, I mean a-ma-zing. So good, I knew I couldn’t ignore this any longer so I bit the bullet and booked my appointment.

Which brings me to two weeks ago and the actual purpose of this post.

The place I went to is called MyBrows in Dublin and the woman who runs it Monica Ivanyi, has worked in the beauty industry for over ten years, specialising in semi permanent makeup for the past four. On arrival, I had a long talk with Monica where she took me through all details of the process from how she decides on thickness and shape, to pigment shade and aftercare. She made it clear that this procedure was tattoo like in that it lasts a long time, but rather than being permanent, it is semi permanent as it is only applied to the top layers of the skin and therefore over time, your body can break down the pigment eventually leaving no trace.

Sometimes it will last for 18-24 months or longer, sometimes it will last 12-18 months, it all depends on your skin tone and type, your body’s natural healing process, and how well you stick to the aftercare guidelines. But all going well, you should be left with a defined, natural looking brow for at least six to twelve months.

We chose a shade, Monica measured my brow bone and brow area with a specialist tool used to determine shape and thickness of the brows, and honestly, I was extremely nervous. Ultimately, I just had to put my trust in Monica and go with it until she handed me that mirror and asked me what I thought.

In the interests of being brutally honest, when I first looked in the mirror I felt sick, and all I could think was WHAT THE F*CK HAVE I DONE? They were dark, so dark, and much thicker than I would usually wear. I was also pretty convinced they made my face look so much fatter! But after those few initial seconds of panic, Monica calmly reassured me that many people have this reaction, especially those like me who have lived most of their lives without good brows. She also reassured me that the colour and thickness fades and shrinks anywhere from 10-50% after the first two weeks.

It is a shock let me tell you. But slowly I began to feel better. Deep breaths, deep breaths. This is going to tone down, and I’m not going to have to change my name to Spock!

Here’s a look at my brows in the car just before I went in, and straight after I left:

As I drove home I was flitting between panic and excitement. I have brows, my god I have brows, but are they too dark, or too thick? Do I look like the child in the cadbury’s ad with the dancing eyebrows? A multitude of thoughts were running though mind ultimately leading to a panicked phone call to my bestie, and a series of what’s app discussions with my girls. God, where would we be without our girls?

Anyway, I digress… After week one my brows had started to fade in colour and although still quite thick, waking up every morning with brows was becoming addictive. Not to sound vain, but I would literally sit and stare at them for ages, mesmerised, taking it all in and getting used to my new look. I couldn’t resist. Finally I started to think, wow, maybe these look okay, good even. I could be an eyebrow queen, YAASSS!

Here’s the week one comparison. The top image was taken just one day after procedure, bottom image taken one week after procedure:

And here I am another week on. I have reached and passed the two week mark and I am loving my brows. The initial pigment has naturally exfoliated away through my skin’s healing process, they have taken a more natural shape, the colour is settling and they look pretty good. I never thought I’d say it but I’m already beginning to think about going back for my top up (which is due in around eight weeks time).

The whole procedure took just over two hours and cost €300. I haven’t decided if I’ll definitely go back for a top up, but if I do, there will be another charge of €120, after which I shouldn’t need any more topping up for at least a year or so. All in all, it was a dramatic experience – it’s not all sunshine and lollipops, but it was worth it.

There is no pain or downtime with the procedure and the aftercare is fairly straight forward. No water, makeup or moisturiser on the brow area for two weeks, no sweating or intense exercise either, and every day you apply a healing cream to the brows to help reduce swelling and prevent infection.

The top image below shows one day after procedure, versus the bottom image which was taken today 16 days after procedure (excuse photo quality, I’m in the process of changing cameras!):

Two weeks ago I was in a haze of self-induced brow anxiety, today I’m loving my new brows and the fact that I haven’t had to use a brow product once in the last two weeks. I will need to use some pencil or powder as the pigment fades, but I can live with that. Sometimes change is as good as the rest, and in this case, I’m pretty happy with the change. They aren’t quite heeled yet as they are still flaking, but they getting there.

Have you ever had microblading or embrowdery done? If so, I’d love to swap stories and hear how you all got on. I hope I’m not the only one who had a momentary panic!

Ps. In the interests of finishing the story, obviously Mum took me out of that creche immediately and we never went back again. In the early 80’s there wasn’t much you could do about things like that, but I’m pretty sure if that happened now there would be serious consequences.

Yours in brow heaven…

Sorcha x

Sunday Silence

Every so often I share a Sunday Silence post, where I write about meditation, gratitude and mindfulness. Sundays are funny days, and I mean funny in the strange kind of way, they are usually quieter than the other bustling days of the week (for me anyway), and because of that, on Sundays I always try to take some time out to meditate and ponder a new week ahead.

I’ve suffered with varying degrees of anxiety for many years now and through the practice of meditation, gratitude and mindfulness, I have learned how to keep it at bay and not become so overwhelmed that I end up having a panic or anxiety attack. Well most of the time anyway. Many people are familiar with these words I’m sure, so many of us suffer from anxiety these days and I know I’m always looking for new ways to deal with it.

As I begin my meditation this evening and clear my mind for a new week ahead, I decided to share the Optimist’s Creed with you all. Many of you may be familiar with it, I came across it for the first time when I read the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I read this to myself every single day and it has helped me in more ways than I can say:

 

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Image: http://www.thesecret.tv

I hope you have some silence this Sunday, and I hope this helps to still your mind in the same way it has helped me.

Sorcha x

*Header image courtesy of Huffington Post

Travel Thursday | Beauty Around the World

Well, I can’t believe I’m writing this, but today marks just three weeks until Dave and I head off on our big adventure to see the world. Many of you will already know this if you’ve been reading my blog posts of late, but if not, then let me fill you in.

In three weeks time, Dave and I are embarking on a two month trip around the world. Yes, I really just said that. I can’t believe it myself. Eeek! When I say around the world, I really mean the other side of the world namely, Bali, Australia and Thailand. We’re just packing up, heading off, cameras and suncream in tow, and going to see where the adventure takes us. Somewhere good I hope…

As amazing as my trip is going to be, I don’t want to let my blogging fall by the way side while I’m gone, so I’ve decided to set a few blogging challenges for myself. Hence the purpose of today’s blog post.

I blog mostly about beauty and lifestyle, with a little bit of travel thrown in here and there when I visit different places, but because I’m going to be gone so long, I was concerned that travel posts may take over and not all of you will be interested in reading those posts. So, to make sure I cover topics everyone will be interested in, there will be a beauty challenge, a lifestyle challenge and of course, a travel challenge (the last of which let’s be honest, should be a doddle).

While I haven’t decided on all the challenges just yet, I have decided on one and that is, the beauty challenge. The first challenge is for me to discover, trial, test and blog about at least two beauty products or rituals native to each place I visit. So whether it be buying makeup from a local cosmetics company, having an amazing facial or massage experience, or giving a weird and wonderful local old wives tale a try, I’m going to challenge myself to embrace, blog and put them all to the test.

I’ve started researching beauty and skincare in each of the countries I’m visiting and already I’ve come up with a few gems. Here’s a look what awaits me:

Bali

Image: Tripadvisor

From what I’ve read so far about Bali, inner beauty is deemed just as important as outer beauty, in other words, healing and looking after ourselves from the inside out. Apart from regular massages, yoga and mediation, many Balinese use herbal heeling recipes, or Jamu it is known, to keep them healthy and glowing.

Image: Pinterest

Jamu is said to be full of anti-oxidants with amazing age-defying properties so needless to say I’m intrigued. I plan on routing out some Jamu filled products during my stay to see what all the fuss is about. I think there are Jamu teas and drinks too.

Image: Pinterest

There are also several Indonesian cosmetics brands, one in particular I keep coming across is called, Caring Colours. Now, I’ve no idea what the products are like, I’ve tried using google translate to learn more, but unfortunately I think I’ll just have to wait until we get there to suss it out.

Australia

Image: Pinterest

Australia is way ahead of the curve when it comes to certain beauty products and rituals. They do beach waves (and I mean the hair kind) better than anywhere else, they embrace natural beauty both in their look and in the products they use, and there are just so many Aussie brands I am dying to try out.

I’ve been in Australia before, I spent three months there about six years ago. But, it was my last stop on a ten month trip around the world and I was pretty broke. So beauty and makeup sadly didn’t get much of a look in back then, but I’m going to make up for that this time around.

Image: Pinterest

Perhaps the most famous products to come out of Australia is cult favourite, Lucas’ Papaw Ointment, which is said to be a miracle ointment made from 100% natural ingredients. It is good for chapped and cracked lips, minor burns, sunburn, insect bites – you name it. And it was even voted ‘Most Popular Lip Balm’ in Tripadvisor’s 2015 Traveller’s Choice Awards – who even knew there was such an award? It sounds very similar to my trusty Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour cream, so this is first on my list of products to try when I arrive.

Apart from Lucas’ Papaw, there are so many other Australian cosmetic and skincare brands I’m sure I’ll discover during the trip, but what intrigues me even more are some of the natural beauty remedies or old wives tales that are still used to this day. From applying almond oil all over your body after a cold shower; to putting apple cider vinegar in your hair for extra shine; to using basil to get rid of spots and blemishes, the Australian’s definitely know how to embrace the alternative. And although a bit apprehensive, I think I’m going to have to give some of these a try to see if they really do work.

Thailand

Image: Tripadvisor

Well, we all know that in terms of beauty, Thailand is probably most famous for its massage. I cannot wait to get a real, authentic Thai massage. I’ve heard they are sore, uncomfortable and a bit awkward, but I’ve also heard that you feel feckin’ fantastic afterwards.

Image: Pinterest

Spa culture is big in Thailand, and it’s one of the things I’m most looking forward to about our trip there. Because of this, several high quality holistic, natural skincare brands have shot to fame over the past number of years and by all accounts, they are amazing. Two of the most recognised and seemingly popular brands I’ve come across through my research so far are Siam Botanicals and another brand called Thann.

Image: Siam Botanicals

Aside from the fabulous spa culture, the Thai women also have some secret beauty rituals of their own. They believe mango is the cure for, well, pretty much everything from spots to cuts; Tamarind pulp is apparently a great skin exfoliator; while seaweed is reportedly their secret to shiny, bouncy hair. I’m not feeling very brave right now, but I’ll just have to man up – all in the name of beauty as they say!

Who knows if I’ll come across any of these brands whilst on my travels, I may discover many other weird and wonderful rituals and products instead, or I may discover none. But that’s my challenge, and I choose to accept it.

I’m hoping I might learn a thing or two, and maybe come home with incredibly gorgeous glowing skin just in time for Christmas? Or maybe I’ll have a few disaster stories that will do nothing more than give us all a great laugh! Either way, it’ll be an experience.

The countdown is well and truly on now, so be prepared for plenty more travel posts coming your way soon. And if you’re not into the travel posts, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with lots of beauty and lifestyle too.

Sorcha x

Bridget Jones’s Baby with Glossybox

Last night I was invited to go along to a screening of Bridget Jones’s Baby hosted by the fabulous Glossybox to celebrate their fifth birthday. For those of you who don’t know about Glossybox, it’s a monthly beauty subscription box that sends samples each month of new products coming to the market, and even sometimes has some full size products and cult favourites included too.


The boxes are extremely cute and at last nights event, we were all given one of their special edition Red boxes for September. This box was created in conjunction with Red magazine’s Beauty Director, the fabulous Annabel Meggeson, and contains six absolute gems of products.

Vitamasques Hydro Face Mask

This mask contains a patented AMF (Artificial Moisturising Factor) – I’m not sure what that means to be honest, but apparently it enhances the skin’s ability to retain moisture. It claims to keep the skin hydrated for up to two hours, which makes me very excited to try it so I will keep you posted.

The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask


Okay, I’m a little bit squealy excited about this! These body shop masks are everywhere at the moment, I’ve seen so many bloggers testing them and talking about them, and all accounts so far seem to be very positive. You know me, I love an ‘aul glow to the skin, and this mask claims to give you just that, so I reckon this one will be getting put to the test tonight. I can’t wait any longer!

Catrice Volumizing Lip Booster

I only became aware of what great lip products Catrice make a few months back when I fell in love with their Ultimate Stay lipstick range. This volumizing lip booster claims to give your lips volume and shine, as well as hiding any fine lines, so I’m really looking forward to giving this a go.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

Now, let’s begin by saying, anything that claims to be ‘Better Than Sex’ has got to be pretty feckin’ amazing – right? It’s a pretty big claim to make so I’m looking forward to using it and seeing how much it lives up to its claim. I have read and heard so much about Too Faced products over the years, but I’m ashamed to say I’ve never actually tried anything of theirs before, so I can’t wait to give this a try.

Rodial Smokey Eye Pen

I love a good eyeliner and Rodial products are generally quite good so here’s hoping this is good too. My cousin told me she’s tried it and really likes it so again, I will keep you posted.

The Organic Pharmacy Antioxidant Lip Balm

I haven’t heard of The Organic Pharmacy products before so I’m intrigued to do some research and read what they are all about. This lip balm is a really handy handbag size and it smells gorgeous too. It contains Shea Butter and Rose Hip so that’s always a good start for keeping lips moisturised. As some of you may know I got my lips very severely sunburnt when I was younger so I constantly have lip balm on my lips, so if this is good, I will be very excited.

These subscription boxes are such a great idea for trialling and testing products before going out and buying them, especially if you’re a beauty fanatic. I’m very excited to give all of these a try, and as always, I’ll report back and let you know how I get on.

On a side note, Bridget Jones’s Baby was absolutely hilarious. The girls and I cried laughing the whole way through, it’s that funny. So if you’re looking for something fun to do with your girls, then I highly recommend going to see it. I’d even go so far as to say, it’s better than the last one.

If you’ve tried any of these products, please let me know what you think as I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’d equally love to hear what you thought of the movie if you’ve seen it too. I came out feeling great after it, sometimes all you need is a good belly laugh!

Sorcha x

 

Lipstick Look | Going Dark for Autumn

The more I read about makeup trends for Autumn/Winter, the more I’m seeing dark lips everywhere. Now, a dark lip has been popular for the past few Autumn/Winter seasons so there’s nothing new there. However, this year they have gone even darker. Designers such as Marc Jacobs and Zac Posen went for strong, deep berry shades, with Cranberry and Cherry being two very popular shades of choice on the runway all round.

I love a dark lip. Whether it be a strong orange or fuchsia for Summer, or a berry or burgundy for Autumn, I love playing around with shades and looks. It’s not unusual for me to buy a few new lippys when a new season rolls around and that’s exactly what I did a few weeks ago.


If you read my Daytime Autumn Lipstick post a few weeks ago, you’ll know I was recently in Charlotte Tilbury testing out some new shades. And while I was there, I picked up the lippy for today’s post, Night Crimson. Now, while this is not a ‘new’ lipstick to Charlotte Tilbury, it is new to me, and very much an on-trend colour for this season. It’s a bit different to other shades I have, and therefore I’ve been loving wearing it over the past few days.

Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks are always a good purchase in my view, they are super hydrating and moisturising, they have very good pigment, and they wear well on the lips too. Night Crimson is from the K.I.S.S.I.N.G range which apparently contains anti-oxidants and special waxes to plump up the lips and leave them feeling super soft. Now, while I’m not sure about the plumping part, this lipstick definitely leaves my lips soft, and I love the glossy look it gives them too.


I would describe this shade as a dark cherry, and therefore it is the perfect shade to get me through the Autumn months. It looks equally good with a soft nude eye, or a charcoal smoke, and therefore is very versatile in how it can be worn.

I’ll just never get tired of trying new lipsticks, and I hope you won’t get tired of me talking about them either!

Do you have a favourite dark Autumn shade? If so then let me know what it is by commenting below. I always love hearing what your favourites are.

Sorcha x