Review: YSL Vernis À Lèvres Vinyl Cream Liquid Lipstick

My love of lipstick is known by many at this stage, but nothing excites me more than discovering a new lipstick and falling head over heels for it. Lipsticks honestly make me excited and if they end up being really amazing, have even been known to cause butterflies and squeals so be warned!

In October I was invited along to the launch of some of YSL’s autumn beauty releases and needless to say I was not going to miss this event, especially when I knew a new lipstick range was part of the launch. I’ve always been a big fan of YSL beauty, their products are full of great ingredients and their lipsticks are super hydrating. In fact, one of my favourite lipsticks all time ever in life is their Rouge Pur Couture lipstick in shade 13, Le Orange.

Anyway, off I went to the event and it didn’t take long for the squeals to start when I walked in the door and saw the new Vernis À Lèvres, Vinyl Lip Cream collection. I mean, who couldn’t squeal at something as pretty as these?

As I swatched the lip creams on my hands to test them out, I knew instantly I was going to love them. The formula is really rich and creamy, and the colour pay off is insane! These lippies are seriously pigmented which is exactly what I look for in a lipstick. Technically they are called ‘lip creams’, but the texture is very much that of a satin finish lipstick.

I was lucky enough on the day to receive two out of the twelve shades in the range, 402 Rouge Remix, an orange red shade and 403 Rose Happening, a fab bright salmon shade that is just to die for. These colours are right down my street but honestly, I’m loving all the shades in the range. They are very wearable, and range from deep reds to brighter pinks.

Do I even need to go on?!

Application is also so easy you could do it with your eyes closed! The pointed, triangle shaped applicator brush means you can outline your lips without needing lip liner, then fill in the rest of the lips and blend the lipstick all over. It also has extremely good staying power and there is absolutely zero stickiness.

At first I couldn’t understand why they called it ‘vinyl’, but after wearing this for weeks now, I get it. It has that soft vinyl feel on the lips, it’s not glossy or sticky, but gives a gorgeous rich shiny finish.

I took shade 403 with me on my travels and it has not left my side for the past month. It’s love people. Without a doubt, these are one of my favourite beauty releases of 2016 and well on track to become my favourite lipsticks ever.

They cost €33 so a little on the pricey side as lipsticks go, but trust me, if you’re a lipstick lover you need these in your life. Oh, and just on the off chance you need a little more convincing, did I mention they smell absolutely divine too?!

Sorcha x

Road Trippin’, Airlie Beach & The Whitsunday Islands

I’m finally getting back into the swing of things when it comes to blogging, life has been so fast moving on this great adventure of ours, I just haven’t had a second to sit down and write about it all. Writing is one of my favourite things to do as many of you know, but I really wanted to make sure I embraced every single opportunity that came my way during my travels and because of that, writing has taken a little bit of a back seat.

But I’m back, and still reeling in the excitement that was Airlie Beach. I had a little taster of the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns, but like the reef, the Whitsunday Islands have been on my bucket list for such a long time now so needless to say I was super excited to arrive in Airlie and begin discovering the Whitsundays.

We had four days to explore so the first thing we did after settling into our hotel, Coral Reef Resort, was check out all the different tours on offer and decide what we wanted to see and do during our stay. Whitehaven Beach was top of our list, but we also wanted to do some more snorkelling and so after lots of research, we decided to go with a tour company called Whitehaven Xpress.

Whitehaven Xpress offer a one day tour to Whitehaven Beach, and passes by the other Whitsunday islands on the way, including Hamilton and Daydream islands, followed by a BBQ on Whitehaven beach and an afternoon of snorkelling on the one of the reefs nearby. A jam packed day full of everything we wanted to see.

On the morning of our tour we left early to began our hour and a half boat trip out to Whitehaven, the beach considered to be Australia’s purest and most beautiful, and one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  Although we knew this, you can’t imagine how beautiful it is in real life until you’re there, standing on that fine, dust like sand, feeling it squeak beneath your feet and looking out on that crystal clear water. It is beautiful in every way imaginable and as I lay on the sand, I closed my eyes, turned my face to the sun and felt so much gratitude for my life in that moment. It was magical.

We ate a delicious BBQ and spent a few hours chilling on the beach before making our way to the northern tip to visit the hill inlet. The inlet is that infamous view you see on postcards of Whitehaven, where the fresh water meets the sea water and creates more shades of blue than you can imagine. It is truly breathtaking and something everyone should experience because it really has to be seen to be believed. Nature at its most beautiful.

We stood at the inlet looking out over the water and sand, in what felt like a very surreal moment. I’m not joking when I say I pinched myself to make sure I was really there! Because WOW! How did I get here? But it was real and I was truly awed by the whole experience.

After coming down off my cloud nine bubble, we all made our way back to the boat to go snorkelling. We were a bit concerned about snorkelling in the Whitsundays because the water is much more shallow there meaning the sand swirls in the water making it cloudy and not as easy to see coral and fish. But really there was no need to worry, because even though the water was a little cloudy, we still saw so many amazing fish, and they were huge! This guy in the below photo, a Humphead Wrasse, was almost the same length as my leg!

I just loved the whole experience all over again in Airlie and am beginning to think snorkelling may just be my new thing!

Without a shadow of a doubt, that day was one of the best in my life. I loved every second of it and am so grateful that I was able to do it.

If you read my earlier post this week on my Great Barrier Reef plane adventure, you’ll know what else I got up to during my Airlie Beach stay. But apart from the reef, we had so much fun wandering around this quirky beach town. This truly is a place made for tourists, and everyone is super relaxed and chilled out here. The laid back vibe is contagious and we made sure to soak it all up while we could.

Airlie was also home to one of the most delicious meals we’ve eaten on our trip so far, so much so we’re still talking about it! Walter’s Lounge is a small spot tucked away in the middle of Airlie Port and has an Australian/French food mix. Their ethos is to share everything and there’s no distinction between starter and main courses, so you order a few different plates and share. I loved this idea!

We had everything from slow cooked beef rump, to baked camembert, and sweetcorn croquettes to braised pork belly, and every single bite was heaven on a plate. To top it all off, the dessert of pineapple, mango and vanilla was one of the best desserts we’ve ever eaten and the perfect end to an amazing meal. Not to mention the delicious cocktails!

Leaving Walter’s and Airlie, we definitely had big smiles on our faces. We had so much fun, discovered new places, ate great food, laughed, drank, played… All the things that make a trip somewhere so great.

I know that sounds similar to how I finished my post on Cairns, but the thing about travelling is, it’s all experiences, great experiences – and thankfully all our experiences have been great. Reality goes out the window, responsibility goes out the door, and life walks in. All the amazing, incredible, wonderful things about living life to the full.

We’re over half way through our trip now and I can’t believe it. But every day that I am here, I am so thankful to have had this opportunity.

The world is an incredible place just waiting to be discovered. What are you waiting for?

Sorcha x

Great Barrier Reef Aviation Adventure | Airlie Beach

Hey everyone! I’m back, it’s been a week or so I know but I’ve been busy exploring the beautiful world that is the East Coast of Australia…

If you read my last travel post on Cairns, you will know that I experienced the Great Barrier Reef there for the first time, and it has been one of the best things about our trip so far. In fact, I think it’s been my favourite of all the things we’ve seen and done up to now. I’ve basked in all the cultural delights that Ubud had to offer, soaked up the rays in Seminyak, lived the island life in Gili T, and so much more over the past five weeks, but seeing the Great Barrier Reef has really been a highlight for me.

I wrote in my last post about my first snorkelling experience, how incredible it was, and how as I was snorkelling, I could almost hear the voice of David Attenborough narrating everything I was seeing as I saw it. It was a surreal, life changing experience and one that I will never forget.

After we left Cairns we made our way to Airlie Beach to continue our reef adventures, and while I’ll go in to all the Airlie details in my next blog post, today I wanted to tell you about possibly one of the best hours of my life, a flight over the Great Barrier Reef. Okay it sounds a little dramatic, but my god is the reef just as incredible from the sky as it is from under the water.

I had seen and read a lot about the helicopter and airplane tours of the reef before I got there and I knew without a doubt I was going to go on one, so one of the first things I did when I arrived was booked my seat on a one hour scenic flight with GSL Aviation. Dave has a fear of flying, so opted to stay behind on this one, but there’s no way I could have missed out on the opportunity of seeing one of the wonders of the world from the sky.

So when the day arrived, off I went excited and a little nervous to Whitsunday Airport and got myself ready to take off.

When I arrived I found out the plane seated seven people not including the pilot, and as everyone else was a couple, I got to ride up front, right beside the pilot, steering wheel (is that what it’s even called on a plane?!) in front of me. There I was, the closest I was ever going to get to my Maverick and Goose moment and I was in my element! *Queue cheesy 80’s movies quote; I feel the need, the need for speed… *E-hem*.

Anyway, off we took nothing but blue skies in front and beside me, and it was amazing.

Nothing can quite describe that feeling as you take off in a small plane, butterflies of excitement that almost catch your breath as you begin to see everything from an entirely different point of view. Then, just as you begin to breath again, as if out of nowhere the reef begins to appear.

It is spectacular, and so big. I mean I knew it was big but seeing it with your own eyes just makes you realise its expanse. We flew low so we could all the reefs, coral, and varying shades of blue up close, and it is beautiful. I’ll never forget that feeling, and the wonder I felt as I took it all in. As we flew along of course I snapped away on my camera, trying not to miss a thing, but even if I hadn’t taken one photo I’d still never forget what it looked like.

We saw the Whitsunday Islands, we saw Whitehaven Beach, we saw coral, we saw the infamous heart shaped reef, and it was quite possibly one of the best experiences of my life. One which I will never forget.

Airlie Beach was so much more than just my plane ride, and I’ll share all the details of our trip there soon. But for now let me just say, if you ever find yourself in Airlie and wonder whether it’s worth doing then yes it is, it really is.

It’s Wednesday in Oz so happy hump day, I’ll post more soon!

Sorcha x

Cairns, The Great Barrier Reef & My First Snorkel Experience| My Travel Adventures Part 4

I can’t quite believe it’s been over a week since my last blog post, for two reasons really. Mainly because I’ve packed so much into the last few weeks, it feels like a month’s worth of blogging, but also because time is flying by and for just a moment I would like it to stand still so that I can bask in the incredible beauty that is the Great Barrier Reef.

After Bali, we flew to Cairns in North Queensland, known for its crystal clear waters and spectacular coral reefs. Though the Great Barrier Reef reaches much further North than Cairns, this seaside town is where most of the reef tours and adventures start from, with most guide books recommending it as a good place to begin your reef exploration.

Cairns is a small seaside town, and during the day can appear deceivingly quiet. But don’t be fooled, the many hundreds of tourists are all spending their days out in the deep blue ocean. It took us a few hours for the penny to drop, at first we couldn’t figure out why there wasn’t anyone about as we strolled along the Esplanade on our first day. But, fast forward a few hours to bustling bars and restaurants and the streets full of people, and it all began to sink in. Ah! They were all out on the water. Of course they were, because that’s why most tourists come to Cairns; that’s why we came to Cairns.

Although I had done a lot of research into the different types of tours you can do before arriving, we decided not to book anything until we got there because frankly, there’s no better advice than that of the local guides who can tell you how things really are. Thankfully, our hotel had a tour desk so we ventured down there after getting our bearings to book our first reef tour.

We were staying in the DoubleTree Hilton (a far cry from the luxury of Bali let me tell you!), and although the hotel itself wasn’t great, the tour desk was brilliant. Sue, the woman running the desk, is a seasoned diver and knows everything there is to know about the reef, snorkelling and the best tours on the market. We were worried we may not get a good tour as we didn’t want to dive, but we needn’t have because the tour we ended up booking was absolutely incredible. Thanks Sue!

Like many Cairns tours, Tusa Dive offer full day tours to the reef for both divers and snorkelers and provide all equipment as well as food and drink for your day out on the water. But what made the tour so great for us was the crew. They honestly couldn’t have been more helpful, professional, or encouraging, especially to us newbies scared of the open water.

We boarded our Tusa Dive boat early and were so relieved to know there were many others in the same boat (excuse the pun!) as us. Most had never snorkelled before, and apart from some very shallow snorkelling in the Maldives last year, I have never snorkelled properly, let alone done a dive, so this put my very nervous tummy at ease so I could sit back, relax, and settle into my day at sea.

We started our morning out with tea, coffee and muffins on board as well as running through the day’s events and safety demonstrations. The plan was to visit two reefs, the first being one called Pretty Patches. The two reefs you visit on your trip are only decided on the morning, weather and water conditions obviously playing a part in the decision. We were extremely lucky to get a very fine, clear day meaning we could sail out to the furthest reefs near the continental shelf, and crystal clear water.

Nerves were building as we got fitted for our wetsuits and flippers and before I knew it, it was time to get in the water. Eek, holy crap! Like any of these scary moments in life, it was time to bite the bullet, get over the nerves, and embrace this amazing opportunitiy right in front of me, and so I took a deep breath and jumped right on in.

I’m not going to lie, the first minute or so I was a bit panicky. You jump into the water in the deep blue, no reef below you, nothing to see. Obviously the boat can’t go right up to the reef so it pulls up as close as you can and you swim over. For someone who never, and I mean NEVER, swims in the sea, this was scary. But once I got my bearings I calmed down, put my head under water and swam. And oh, was I glad I did.

As you swim, the reef suddenly appears out of nowhere, colours you can’t even imagine shine up at you like something out of a David Attenborough TV series. I’m not even joking, I could almost hear him narrating what I was looking at as I swam over many different types of coral, fish and other marine life. It was quite literally breath-taking and nothing like anything I had ever seen or done before.

We spent about half an hour in the water, took loads of under water pictures with my adventure camera, then headed back to the boat for lunch. I got out of the water and as sad as this may sound, I almost cried! It was a feeling of pure elation, and pride for what I had achieved. It may seem like a small feat to most but open water and me? I just never thought I’d have the guts. But I did, and it felt amazing!

We had a gorgeous buffet lunch on board as we left Pretty Patches and made our way over to the second snorkel sight of the day and do it all again. I found the afternoon snorkel a little tougher as the current had picked up and was quite strong – swimming against it certainly took strength and concentration. But never was I concerned because the instructors and staff on the boat were keeping a close eye on us.

As we sailed home and the sun began to go down, I was full of adrenalin and happiness from the day. It was so much more incredible than I could ever have imagined it to be. I loved every minute of it.

I knew the Great Barrier Reef would be amazing, I knew snorkelling would be amazing, but honestly, I never dreamed it would be as incredible as it was. I had imagined what it would be like for so many years, but seeing it in real life with your own eyes is another thing entirely. It is something I’ll never forget.

Obviously there was a lot more to our trip to Cairns than just the reef, we also visited Cairns Zoom, an indoor Zoo on top of a Casino, sounds strange I know but this place was incredible. I met Ruby the Pademelon, Goliath the four meter long Croc, and even got to have a cuddle with Micro the Koala, an experience pretty high up on my list of best things ever! We also strolled along the esplanade, ate some great food, drank, laughed, and pinched ourselves more than a few times.

We arrived in Australia with the best bang ever and our adventures have been incredible so far. We left Cairns and made our way down towards Townsville for an overnight pitstop before making our way towards Airlie Beach and the next big adventure on our trip.

The road trip is well and truly underway…

Sorcha x


Hydro Face Mask by VitaMasques

Although I’ve been keeping up with my daily face routine of cleansing, toning and moisturising while away on my trip, my skin has been feeling very dull and dehydrated. It’s probably from a combination of things – suncream, sun exposure, lack of exfoliation and less face mask use than normal.

Usually at home I would do a face mask at the very least once a week, but here the weeks are flying by and it’s been a good three weeks since I last used one.

Rather than bring a big tub of one of my favourite masks with me, I decided to bring a few sachets of new masks I hadn’t yet tried, one of which was the Hydro Face Mask from a brand called VitaMasques. I got this mask in September’s Glossybox and popped it straight into my suitcase to try out on my travels. 

According to VitaMasques, this mask contains a patented AMF (Artificial Moisturising Factor) which enhances the skin’s ability to retain moisture, and has been formulated to provide hydration and moisture to the skin.

It claims that this AMF will keep the skin hydrated for up to 120 hours, and contains extracts from the Rose of Jericho, which enhances and further optimises moisture retention in the skin.

Some bold claims right? Well, I was happy to discover that this mask is really brilliant. It totally revived my skin and brought it back to life after a dull few weeks.

The mask comes in two parts and feels like a soft silicone. The top part covers the eye and nose area while the second covers the mouth area. I actually really liked this because it meant I could properly apply the mask and spread it evenly over my face without getting too much product on my hands. Unlike most masks, this one should be left on the skin for up to thirty minutes which meant I could sit back, relax and let the formula soak into my skin.

After my thirty minutes was up, I took off the mask then rubbed the left over product on my face into my skin. It instantly felt better, definitely more hydrated and super soft too. And when I woke the next morning I really felt like my skin had been completely revived.

It’s hard to review a product properly after only just one try, but because this worked so well I just had to review it. I think I’ll definitely be purchasing this one in the future.

Sorcha x