#LivingWithCancer

So this post is a little different and a little deep, compared to the usual going’s on at Bellini’s and Blush! This week, Independent.ie are sharing stories and accounts of people #LivingWithCancer. YouTubers such as Clisare and LifeWithLissie have very bravely posted vlog’s around their own experience with cancer.

While I am not a vlogger, from time to time I do like to call myself a blogger :). I have written an article for independent.ie about my own experience with Cancer,if you would like to have a read!

If you are reading from Ireland, I would be very grateful if you could Text PINK to 50300 to donate €4 to the Irish Cancer Society. If you are reading from somewhere else in the world, perhaps you could make a similar donation to a similar charity in your country!

Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #LivingWithCancer.

TKMAXX BEAUTY HAUL

While the thought of walking into TKMaxx can break some people out in hives, I don’t mind it so much. I noticed over the past year or so it has become a treasure trove for a beauty junkie like myself, with some amazing hair, make up and skin care products on offer and at excellent prices!

Last week was particularly special in terms of beauty bargains, when I picked up four little gems that any beauty lover would appreciate! Continue reading

SPOTLIGHT ON ZAZZLE ONLINE MARKETPLACE

A couple of weeks ago I was approached by Zazzle online marketplace to review some of their products and after browsing through this site many times in the past, I was only too delighted to get on board!

Zazzle is an online marketplace focussed on indie and branded designs. It also acts as an amazing platform for customers to create their own custom products and gifts! Zazzle itself is based in California, but surprisingly enough they have their head office based in Cork! A+ for Irish enterprise 🙂

Zazzle offers a huge range of cute, trendy and kitsch products to suit all ages, occasions and budgets. From cards and invitations, to clothing, home accessories and craft supplies. Zazzle is a fantastic site for gift ideas, particularly if you want something more personalised and a little bit special!

Jessica at Zazzle very kindly allowed me to choose four tank tops of my choice to review. Picking them was quite challenging, as there are so many styles, colours, patterns, prints and slogans to choose from, most certainly something for every occassion. I had to stop my browsing and just make my decisions! I could have easily browsed the site in awe and wonderment all day! I finally settled on the following;

Dandelion Wishes Tank Top Tshirt in grey £20.95 (around €29.42)

I really loved this particular tank top! The cotton, polyester and spandex mix meant that the material was lovely and soft and had good stretch in it.  The pattern and slogan are pretty and subtle and I love that the dandelion motif carries around to the back of the top. This tank is perfect for a casual look with your favourite skinny jeans!

Zazzle Tops

“Je t’aime” T-Shirt in black £23.95 (around €33.65)

I love clothes and accessories that reference the french language , so I was really drawn to the cute slogan and heart pattern on this tank. Another cotton, polyester and spandex mix, making this tank really comfortable. In hindsight I should have gotten it printed on a white or grey tank as you can’t see the print too well as it’s printed on black, but that’s the wonderful thing about Zazzle, there are loads of colours to choose from. Pink, coral, yellow, green… you can really put your own stamp on these items.

Zazzle Tops3

Chic Tshirt Preppy, black on black stripes FL tshirt in white £24.95 (around €35.00)

I think this was my favourite tank out of the lot! The material is a polyester and viscose mix and it is so soft. It is loose-fitting (my favourite) and the ‘L’ monogram is unique to my name 🙂 . So cute and really comfortable. I would have liked the print to be a little bit darker and more defined, but the semi faded print really gives this tank a nice laid back and ‘worn’ look. You can customise this tank top with a letter of your choice! I feel like this top was made just for me, because of the cute monogram! For that reason, I think I could style it with anything, to put my personal style stamp on any outfit!

Zazzle Tops2

“I Want to Sleep Under Unfamiliar Stars” Night Sky T-Shirt in navy £26.20 (around €36.80)

This one was my least favourite tank, simply because it was a little bit on the small size for me to wear out comfortably.  I’m not a fan of anything that’s tight around my tummy. The tank itself is by American Apparel and Jessica had warned me in advance that they are notoriously small fitting. This navy tank is 100% combed cotton, but I didn’t love the material on this one as much. I much preferred the softer, looser fitting cotton tanks. In saying that, the tank itself and the pattern and slogan makes this a perfect (and very appropriate) pajama top! I’ll certainly have sweet dreams wearing this 🙂 .

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While I agree that the pricing on these tanks is kind of pricey. you are paying for personalised and unique items. Many items on Zazzle marketplace are handmade and created by a wealth of talented and crafty artists. Many items are handmade and customised how you like, so it’s worth that extra few euro for a really special and unique gift for a loved one!

If you’d like to order or create you own tank you can visit their website here. There are some fantastic gift idea’s on Zazzle, make sure you pop over to their website to take a look at their cool products. And great news if you are a crafty fox, you can sell your designs on Zazzle too!

*Huge thanks to Jessica at Zazzle who kindle sent me these garments for review.

REVIEW: COCOA BROWN GENTLE BRONZE

You would have to be living under a rock not to have heard about Cocoa Brown Tanning products, if the name doesn’t ring a bell it’s likely you have spotted the bright pink and white packaging in your local Penneys/Primark or local chemist. Cocoa Brown was founded and created by Marissa Carter and has taken the tanning world by storm! Cocoa Brown is loved by many celebrities and Cocoa Brown was even the official tanning product at the 2014 Oscars! Hey, if it’s good enough for Hollywood elite…

I want to start off by saying that I am NOT a ‘tan girl’. What I mean by that is, while I love to have a tan (personally it makes me feel great and I like how it looks on me) but I am not dedicated enough to maintain false tan on a weekly basis. All power to those who take part in ‘Tanning Thursday’, but I frankly…cannot be bothered! Pair that with the fact that my legs take tan weirdly and I usually end up with streaks and patches.

I recently jetted off to Portugal for a long weekend with a group of gal pals and made the ‘executive decision’ NOT to check in a bag. I planned to fit everything in my carry on and I’d just have to deal with it! For this reason, I was limited to the amount of beautifying paraphernalia I could bring with me. An instant tan product was pipped to the post and I decided I would try Cocoa Brown Gentle Bronze for the week running up to my holiday!

COCOA BROWN GENTLE BRONZE GRADUAL TAN

COCOA BROWN GENTLE BRONZE GRADUAL TAN

Application

I would recommend prepping your skin by exfoliating in advance, for this I highly recommend Cocoa Brown Tough Stuff. It is an AMAZING body exfoliator and is cheap as chips at RRP€5.99.
Essentially, Cocoa Brown Gentle Bronze acts as and is applied like any regular body moisturiser, however I would recommend you use a tanning mitt to apply this body moisturiser to avoid build up on hands. If you prefer to use your hands, just make sure to wash them afterwards.

This product smells pleasant with the scent of Tahitian Gardenia. It dries quickly and smoothly, no stickiness! I did find that after it dried there was a faint ‘digestive biscuits’ fake tan smell, but it was very subtle. I can live with that because amazingly, this doesn’t leave a fake tan scent lingering on your skin after showering, which I am delighted about. Now gals, while I am most certainly no tan expert, I do know that your face must match your body when it comes to tan (and make up…let’s not pull at that thread!). Thankfully Gentle Bronze can also used on the face as it is oil-free and non-comedogenic, so no fear of pre holiday breakouts!

Gentle Bronze is really nourishing and hydrating on the skin and fades well. I would recommend using Cocoa Brown’s oil free Chocolate Whip body moisturiser  (RRP €5.99) to ensure longevity of your tan and an even fade.

COCOA BROWN CHOCOLATE WHIP (OIL FREE MOISTURISER) AND TOUGH STUFF (EXFOLIATOR)

COCOA BROWN CHOCOLATE WHIP (OIL FREE MOISTURISER) AND TOUGH STUFF (EXFOLIATOR)

I used this product for about five or six days before my holiday and I was delighted with the outcome. Lightly bronzed, soft and smooth skin with no streaks! Want proof?

THE RESULT; SUBTLY BRONZED!

THE RESULT; SUBTLY BRONZED!

Gentle Bronze is an absolute winner for any tan novices out there. I will most certainly be using this on a regular basis!

There are lots of products in the Cocoa Brown range, make sure to take a look here.

Cocoa Brown Gentle Bronze Gradual Moisturiser retails at RRP€5.99 and is available from Penneys, online and from leading supermarkets and pharmacies nationwide.

Any Cocoa Brown fans out there?!

 

FITNESS TRIED AND TESTED; PILATES BALLET BARRE

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been trying out a Pilates Ballet Barre class, every Monday lunchtime and I can safely say that I am loving it! I had never done Pilates before and had some ballet training as a child (didn’t we all?), so I was a little nervous as to what I could expect from the class.

Dagmara Jerzak is my Pilates Ballet Barre teacher and she is a very patient and informative teacher. A trained dancer and Pilates teacher, Dagmara is a wonderful mentor! I really enjoy her teaching.

A Pilates Ballet Barre class works on your core at a relatively slow pace and ultimately improves balance, flexibility and muscle tone. It’s not a high intensity type of class that will leave soaked in sweat, but it is most certainly A WORK-OUT! It works you from head to toe and is particularly effective on leg muscles and feet. You really do feel the benefit and the ‘burn’ throughout. I really notice it when I leave class and try to venture down a stairs, jelly legs! I was quite sore after my first class, but it was that ‘nice pain’, where you know it’s a result of a good workout!

The Pilates side of the class works on resistance, stretching and balance, concentrating on the core and tucking your navel into your spine, while the ballet consists of posture, position, placement and plenty of ballet moves such as pliés and leg extensions.

While you do not need any previous experience or training in ballet, I have personally found it most certainly a benefit. I was amazed how my grown up body remembered ballet techniques and stance from the training I did as a little girl! In saying that, once you can move your limbs and have some form of coordination, then this type of workout should be no problem for you! It is suitable for both men and women of all ages and abilities, like anything, you just do what you can do!

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I am really enjoying my Pilates Ballet Barre experience and would highly recommend it to anyone. I enjoy dance in general and I love the gracefulness of the ballet element. Combine that with the strength of the Pilates and I leave class feeling strong, energised and refreshed. I look forward to class every week, it certainly brings some joy to a usually dull Monday! It’s also a lovely way to break up the work day.

Dagmara teaches Pilates Ballet Barre at My Wellbeing Studio, Dame Street in Dublin 2 every Monday lunchtime, from 1pm-1:40pm. The cost of the class is €10 drop in or €35 for 4 weeks. Make sure you visit their website for more information!

Have you ever tried Pilates Ballet Barre? Would love to hear how you got on and any long-term benefits you felt!

MONTHLY FAVOURITES: JUNE 2015

If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance.

– Bernard Williams

SUMMER TIME AND THE LIVIN’ IS EASY! We have been blessed over recent weeks with some really nice weather in Dublin. It’s warm, humid and the sun is finally making an appearance. It’s amazing the difference sunshine makes to our lives. It certainly put’s me in a better mood, more motivation, more reason to indulge in healthy foods. Long may it continue!

June was a busy month for me, lots of bits and bobs. Here’s a rundown of my favourite things this month.

VOYA Invigorating Seaweed Soap

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Now when I say I haven’t used a bar of soap in the shower for yonks, I mean it. With all the luxurious shower gels, creams and oils on the market now, the day of a slippery awkward bar of soap is long gone! I received this product in my goodie bag from the Irish Beauty Blog Awards last month. The first thing that blew me away was the scent; spearmint and rosemary, I’m instantly sold! This soap is beautifully refreshing and contains little bits of seaweed, leaving skin feeling clean and fresh. What I love also about this is how it doesn’t dry skin out. Many soaps are notorious for stripping the skin of moisture, leaving skin feeling tight and dry and this ain’t one of them! VOYA is an Irish brand of luxury spa and skin care products. They use certified organic hand-harvested seaweed from the West of Ireland. I’m always happy to support an Irish brand, particularly when the quality of the products is so good. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS!

VOYA Invigorating Seaweed Soap is priced at €13.00 and is available on the VOYA website and selected stockists nationwide.

Bank Of Ireland Runway Run

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I recently discussed my journey of running and my favourite songs to run to on a previous post . I mentioned that I was training for a 5k run and this month, I completed the Bank Of Ireland 5K Runway Run at Shannon Airport.  The race started at midnight and the atmosphere was electric. My boyfriend Steve and his family also did the run, it was great to have a group, we could all encourage each other! I took the whole thing in my stride and concentrated on my pace from the very beginning. I kept saying over and over in my head “start off slow, start off slow”. It’s very easy to get swept along in the mad dash at the start line, but all too quickly you can easily burn yourself out! I stuck to my guns and started off slowly, as everyone else darted past me. I kept a steady pace the whole way through. Around the 3k mark I started to feel the struggle, but just kept my feet moving. Once I saw the finish line ahead I fell into sprint mode and I’m glad I did, as I made a time of 30:58! Every second counts! I’m not one to be obsessed with timings, I’m generally just happy to finish, but I was very happy with my time nonetheless. It is really worthwhile signing up for races, as it gives you something to work toward. The feeling of achievement afterwards is something you cannot put a price on. A definite highlight in June!

Marc by Marc Jacobs Bag

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The Brown Thomas sale landed during June and I certainly went to hell and high water to make sure I got my hands on this beautiful Marc by Marc Jacobs ‘Jerrie Dessert Rose Sally’ bag. LOOK HOW PRETTY! I couldn’t believe what an amazing sale find this was at an amazing price of €95.00 (was €195.00). I feel this is a real investment piece and something that could be worn with all sorts of outfits for all sorts of occasions. I don’t think I need to justify my spending anymore on this! I needed it! 🙂

Beaut.ie Masterclass Reader Event with Physicians Formula

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I have a huge soft spot for the Beaut.ie website as it was the first beauty blog that I read many years ago. Pair this fab website with the expertise of the gals at Publicity Loft and the result is a fab evening full of loveliness! My blogger pal Nickki from Limes and Stars very kindly invited me to this event as her +1. It took place at EF Creative Studio in Dublin 4, the creative space of award-winning make up artist Emma Farrell. Emma and her team were on hand to demonstrate some tips and tricks on make up looks using Physicians Formula products. I have mentioned the Physicians Formula brand on several occasions. It’s still relatively new to the Irish market and hard enough to get your hands on, but now this fantastic brand has arrived at Lloyds Pharmacies nationwide, making it easier than ever to track down! This gorgeous evening included summery lemonade to cool us down and some delicious Propercorn to keep our tummies full (love that popcorn, so tasty!). And of course, what would any event be without cupcakes! I was delighted with my AMAZING goodie bag  stuffed full of Physicians Formula products. Thanks so much Nickki, Beaut.ie, Physicians Formula and EF Creative Studios for a fabulous evening.

No7 Early Defence Day Cream

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I was gifted this No7 Early Defence Day Cream in my goodie bag from the ITWBN Blogger Event back in May and have been making my way through the pot ever since. I have only tried one No7 moisturiser in the past and to be honest, I wasn’t that impressed with it, but I have to say I am loving this cream from the new No7 Early Defence range. This Early Defence range is ideally suited to young skin (late twenties to early thirties) the in-between youthfulness and anti-aging stage! So it’s perfect for my 30 (almost 31) year old skin. What I love about this day cream is that it absorbs really quickly into skin, it’s not greasy and boasts SPF15 UV protection. A great all-rounder and it’s really agreeing with my skin right now. A cream I would be happy to repurchase!

N07 Early Defence Day Cream is priced at €24.95 and is available from Boots stores and Boots online.

Lots to look forward to during July! Holidays, festivals and it’s my birthday too 🙂

Thanks for catching up with my monthly favourites!

REVIEW: HERBAL ESSENCES CLEARLY NAKED DRY SHAMPOO

Whoever invented dry shampoo is most certainly a genius! Now while I am not exactly an avid user of dry shampoo, I always like to have a can of it for those ‘morning after the night before/can’t be bothered to wash my hair’ related days.

The first dry shampoo I ever bought was Batiste, the original and the best. At the time, dry shampoo was only hitting the shelves and this was everyone’s go to budget friendly can of wonder. I ran out recently and decided I’d like to take advantage of the new brands out there. The Herbal Essences Clearly Naked range was much talked about upon release and the promise of a dry shampoo that smelled like ‘crisp citrus and mint’ had be instantly intrigued. The ‘naked’ part is that it contains 0% parabens and 0% colourants. It contains ‘natural tapioca’, which if I’m honest left me a bit dubious. Isn’t tapioca a bit like rice pudding?! In any event, I finally tracked a bottle of this down and went to work on my greasy locks. Continue reading