Monday Makeup Madness- All about the base!

I’m struggling today, this Monday lunchtime, I’m currently tucked behind my desk gazing out at the blue skies and stunning weather as I attempt to motivate myself to begin trekking through the mountain of Masters work in my path, and sure enough, both the creative and procrastination juices have started flowing and I found my long lost urge to blog….FINALLY!

I decided I wanted to introduce a new segment into my blog, Monday Makeup Madness, where I create a wish-list, or a review on a specific product or range I have been loving. This weeks blog is all about bases and the ones I have been using for a while!

First things first a ‘lil skin back story, I suffer from acne so anything I do tend to use is full coverage and my skin is super sensitive as well as dry/combination, so the sheer hint at something heavy and scented and my skin breaks out! So anything I do use should also be perfect for my sensitive skinned sisters out there!

My main foundation of choice is under €15 and it is one of the best foundations I have every used, and trust me there’s been a lot! NOTE Cosmetics was recently launched in Ireland late last year, with Tara O’Farrell of TARA Makeup representing the brand. I was first introduced to it when I luckily won a competition to be a model for one of her makeup masterclasses.


NOTE cosmetics have a few different foundations in their range from compacts to mineral foundations, but this one is my favourite! The Detox & Protect foundation contains an SPF15, which is vital and it is full coverage. Similar to MAC Studio Fix Fluid and Studio Sculpt, for only €13.95 it is an absolute must-have for everyday wear, I am quite pale but I wear the shade 02 Natural Beige and it matches perfectly. In Cork I picked this up in Sam McCauley Chemists, but it can be bought online here

My second favourite was the very first high-end foundation I have ever owned and I return to it time and again, MAC Studio Fix Fluid has a cult following and it is worth every penny! At €32 (excluding pump) it is a long-lasting, oil free foundation with the fullest coverage MAC offers. Some people love it and some people hate, it is not suitable for those with very dry skin but suits those with normal/combination as it clings to the skin for an all day flawless finish. It has a matte finish to it, but this can be mixed with MAC strobe cream for a dewy glow or you can just use it as an excuse to overload on the highlight!

mac studio fix fluid
MAC Studio Fix Fluid

Again I wear one of the lightest shades in this, NC15, the C stands for cool tone, meaning it’s yellow based to dispel any redness originally in your skin tone, which I would have from acne. I would recommend getting a professional colour match for this as there is a MASSIVE colour range and it’s totally skintone dependent. Once you know your colour you can buy online here P.S there’s a free gift with purchase RIGHT NOW!!

Last but not least is from YSL, now before anyone gasps with shock at the price range for YSL, this foundation was €35 from Cork Duty Free, it retails at approx. €42 in store but it lasts a really long time and the packaging is as beautiful as the product inside. Le Teint Touche Éclat Foundation replaced its iconic, dewy light to medium foundation previously released by YSL. And I was so happy they did!

YSL Touche Eclat Le Teint

Their new formula is a medium to full coverage foundation that STILL gives a dewy all-round glow! This foundation would suit a multitude of skin types, obviously if you have incredibly dry skin then you do need to be careful, but it incorporates to longevity of a full coverage foundation with the brightness and demi-matte (dewy glow) appearance of a lighter coverage base. It ticks all the boxes for me! I wear Bd10 in the summer when I’m slightly darker but generally I wear the palest shade B10 and I bought from Brown Thomas Cork and it’s also available on their site here

But the most important thing about choosing your foundation, after assessing your skin type, is to choose the correct colour, firstly it’s best if you can identify what tone your skin has…

colour match tones
Skin Tone Matching for Foundation

By checking the back of your wrist you can check what colour your veins appear to your skin, blue veins are cool-toned (which is the colour category I’m in), a greeny-blue colour is warm-toned, usually with a pinky-golden tone to your skin and a purple-green colour is neutral. C on a foundation usually signals cool-toned, with W meaning warm-toned and N being for neutral, there is also a lot of drugstore brands that range their foundation shades this way.

The best place to check a foundation colour is by checking it on your jawline and you should test the best out of three shades, just like below:

colour match jawline
Foundation matching is best on your jawline.

The colour that disappears on your face and neck is your perfect colour, you may not find your exact colour but the idea is to choose the closest shade. The foundation should only be darker than normal if you are planning to wear tan- it is not to give your face some colour, that’s what bronzer and blusher are for!

Now that I’ve wasted enough time away from my coursework I better get back to it!

Have a Fab Monday X



Afternoon tea with Eimear Varian Barry

On Sunday I met one of the most fabulous people, the most down to earth, friendly and inspiring person. Did I mention she is also a super fabulous, accomplished blogger?! Eimear Varian Barry!

EVB speaking with IrishFashoholic, Emer O Mahony

Corkonian Eimear started out in RedFm after studying film making, but her love of life and travel has taken her all over the world, not that you’d think it though as she hasn’t lost bubbly cork accent! An inspiration to all of us she started out taking photos of her new life as a mother and turned it into a career- her Instagram feed is the stuff of dreams filled with beautiful thematic images representing her iconic brand. It really gave me the kick up the arse I needed!!

The mother of two spoke so eloquently for 2 hours alongside Lockdown & IrishFashoholic’s Emer O Mahony, who, is probably more stylish pregnant than I may ever be in my life! The talk was held in Cork’s newest Afternoon Tea venue, Electric, where the prosecco was flowing along with gorgeous savoury and sweet nibbles.

Sweet Tray from Electric Cork

Eimear’s message was simple to us aspiring bloggers in the audience, if you want it, work for it. It is clear that while she has an eye for fashion and photography, Eimear Varian Barry has balls! She made her blog work because she had to- and everything in her life has brought her up to this moment. She didn’t sit at home waiting for her following to grow and for collaborations to come knocking, she went out and asked for them, she made it happen- all this while staying true to the brand she wanted to create, she now collaborates with the likes of Julian MacDonald!

The Afternoon tea was incredible, from Electric’s new menu launch and I already can’t wait to go back!


It was the loveliest event I have been to, such a different, relaxed atmosphere filled with a wealth of inspiring knowledge about improving my blog and succeeding in a digital environment. So here is to taking chances, putting myself out there and making it work!


Hanging Out At the Fitness Centre- Week 5

Total Starter Program Weightloss: -11lbs

Total pounds lost in week 5: -?-


Soooo I finished the 4 week starter program and I lost a total of 11lbs! Which is amazing right?! I am the lightest I’ve been in about three years and I am totally hooked on this exercise lark so I signed myself straight up for another 6 weeks, which is really going to be more like indefinitely until I can safely squeeze my fat arse into a pair of denim shorts!

Yes this really is my end goal in terms of weight loss, no it isn’t inner peace or health, it’s being able to wear a pair of nice denim shorts in the summer without the fear of losing them between my thunder thighs.

So at my new-found, lighter weight I began week 5 and I attended my PT sessions with Chris with motivation and determination. I even began monitoring the heart app on my iPhone, making a conscious effort to walk 5k each day while at work, the carpets in my office are becoming threadbare with all the pacing!

But for some reason my willpower & appetite hasn’t caught up with my new lease on life and I swear in the last week I could have eaten every morsel in my path including the kitchen sink and possibly a small goat. And….I’ll be honest I did!

I even ate a takeaway in the middle of the week! I never eat takeaways mid-week, they are a weekend thing as a treat not as a replacement for a home cooked meal. My mom is still laid up on her crutches and I was up the walls organizing a big event at college so I was working every hour under the sun! So I got my family and my boyfriend a curry on the way home, fully convinced I’d make myself something healthy, which I normally do!

But it was nearing 8 o clock, and there was dishes in the sink and the event was the following day, so I caved, next thing I know I’m splitting the curry with my mom and inhaling it in an unladylike fashion. The next day I had wine in celebration of my event, I had hardly eaten anything all day but my brain thought “hey let’s have some wine”…..but let me tell you a secret; wine is my downfall, wine results in cheese and bread and crisps, and believe me it did….


So there it was, Friday, also known as weigh-day and so I arrived At The Fitness Centre and trained and I trained really hard, because I was annoyed at myself, annoyed at my subconscious attempted to sabotage myself as I wasn’t prepared foodwise and life got to me this week!

And when the training session was over I accidentally on purpose forgot to remind anyone to weigh me, instead of biting the bullet, weighing and letting the cards fall where they may, I quickly re-booked my sessions for next week and sprinted out the door as fast as the afore-mentioned thunder thighs could carry me.

So here I am, week 6 feeling rather sheepish, but being totally honest with everyone, last week everything got on top of me and my healthy eating took the back seat, which doesn’t really affect anyone except me. I’m only letting myself down, but I’m human and this week is a new week, so I am back on the wagon and I’ll be back At the Fitness Centre later this week.



Holding On At The Fitness Centre- Week 3

Week 3 Weightloss: -2lbs

Total Weightloss: -10lbs


Can I just begin by apologizing for being MIA recently, I’m not my usual bloggy self- but there’s a good reason, my mother and partner in crime, had surgery on her knee last Thursday and things have been a little mental since. I’m trying to maintain a healthy balance between diet and exercise but it would be so incredibly easy to pick up a takeaway on the way home after a busy day at work- but nonetheless mothers everywhere cook dinners everyday so what’s my excuse, I have a job to do and I’m working on myself.

I have a tendency to put myself last in general situations, boyfriend, work and college come before Barbara- because those are my jobs, my titles, I am a girlfriend, intern and a Masters student. But I’m Barbara first and I deserve just as much attention as I give the rest of my life. And that’s losing weight and that’s for me!

So just like every week I kitted myself out and arrived at my weekly gym sessions, and you know what? I actually miss it when I’m not there, to a point where I’m trying to figure out if I can add an extra session! It’s fast, fun and fabulous and it’s those 30 minutes that are all about me, where I can block out the work worries and the college trouble and just focus on my training and it’s a godsend.

But what about the diet part? Well I’ll be honest I was very well behaved, guzzling green tea and grazing on fruit and almonds and I was back eating a hearty breakfast of porridge and almond milk! Recipe for success yes?! No not so much, mentally because I was running around so much I had aimed to be down more weight, and don’t get me wrong, another loss of 2lbs is fantastic, I mean I have already hit my personal goal and I have one more week on the plan- but maybe I have just gotten greedy, a little obsessive. But I just felt bloated and puffy! Does anyone else experience this, that when you get so inside your own head that the weight doesn’t shift? That or maybe I’m secretly sleep eating unbeknownst to myself!

So this week I’m reminding myself that this is a weight-loss journey, a marathon and not a sprint, and I am the thinnest and lightest I have been since just before I turned 18 and while I didn’t see any change in my measurements this week, that’s not to say there won’t be a change next week or the week after! I’m aiming to end on a high, with a personal goal between 2-4lbs- either way I have lost 10lbs in 3 WEEKS, I’m down a bra size and I’m typing this up in an old pair of black SIZE 12 skinny jeans, so goodbye old dress size.


Feeling incredibly philosophical this week as I enter my fourth and final week of the starter programme At The Fitness centre is that a weight-loss journey is selfish, its long and its probably one of the hardest thing people have to do, chipping away at themselves, sculpting themselves in a way they want. It’s you working on you- and that’s my new job.

So when I observe how they work in At The Fitness Centre, the numbers on the scale seem as little importance, they’re more concerned with your fitness, your body and your general health it’s all about helping you improve you….

So this is Barbara, finishing the starter programme at the end of this week, addicted and planning to sign up to the next plan……join me running the weight-loss marathon, dear bikini body I’m coming for you!!


For a list of their programmes and more info contact At The Fitness Centre here

Hanging Out At The Fitness Centre- Week 2

Week 2 Weightloss: -2lbs

Total Weightloss: -8lbs


This week I learned the sheer importance of exercise and a routine, for those of you who don’t know I tend to suffer from depression, especially during the dark winter months. The weight of all the stresses in my life begin to take it’s toll and I struggle to muster up enough energy to crawl out of bed, let alone exercise or attempt to lose weight. It’s a battle!

But this last week was different, while I had zero interest in coming to the gym, I HAD to go. I had made a personal training appointment, I would feel as if I was letting the guys At The Fitness Centre down if I didn’t go- so I went. Despite almost missing my first session of the week I still showed up!

I’m not sure if it was the fact I was even stricter with my diet this week or maybe I didn’t drink enough water, but I was wiped out, this week I am monitoring everything over on my snapchat @barbaraom to make sure I’m eating enough- But every week I learn more!

The three 30 minute sessions suit my life perfectly, I had to travel to London and back during the week with work and still managed to fit in all my workouts and weigh ins.

While mentally I felt I was dis-improving I was physically stronger this week, its amazing to watch how just 30 minute sessions of weights training 3 times a week can change you, mind and body! I also began incorporating a 10 minute blast on the spin bike before each of my sessions, I have vowed to rid myself of my thunder thighs once and for all- not before my legs session though, I’m not that tough- YET!


I believe week 2 was my make or break week and I still managed a loss of 2lbs, that’s over half a stone in 2 weeks with these guys! When I think back to how other weeks would go, when I’d feel down in the dumps, they’d result in overeating, takeaways and rubbish sleep patterns, but not this week. I may not have been the hyperactive, endorphin fueled gym bunny I was in week 1, but I ate healthy, I drank green tea and I still gave it everything At The Fitness Centre.

Week three’s goal in another 2lbs and I’m drinking green tea and water by the gallon and snacking on almonds, berries and fat free natural yogurt to help me on my journey. I have also started including some vitamins in my morning routine to help boost my mood and my energy because every little helps- My first training session of the week is tonight and it’s legs so….Chris Mc…



Hanging out At The Fitness Centre- Week 1

Total Loss: 6lbs

Total Gains: Energy, Confidence, a new lease of life and there’s probably some muscle somewhere too!


It has been exactly one week since I officially began my starter program in At The Fitness Centre, and while I can safely say I am hooked on the endorphin fueled mood enhancement, this week has been an intense rollercoaster, but I genuinely feel for the first time in a long time, like since my original weight loss journey, that I have a realistic routine in place and I am well on the way to my bikini body!

My fitness test last week was a wake-up call, I wasn’t as strong as I used to be, let alone fit and this needed to be sorted- but I love exercise when I do it regularly so that part is fine, for me it’s the food side, but Chris and Anne were incredibly reassuring!

The weigh in was the scary part- Admitting you have a problem is terrifying and entering a gym or fitness program for the first time is something that should be admired, Well Done to anyone who is making a change this January, it’s not easy and you’re doing great!

I have been to so many places that make you feel worse after stepping on the scales, despite you obviously wanting to change, but Anne’s approach was TOTALLY different, I am incredibly body conscious, but Anne instead calmed me down by simply telling me- God you don’t look that weight at all, you’re very narrow, such a simple thing to say but this has had such a lasting effect on me and this encouraging work ethic boosted my confidence before I even lost weight.

Last Thursday I completely overhauled my eating and began a new food diary, re-introducing Naturespharm Green Tea and writing down everything I ate and I was FAB for about three days. I eat normal enough, I try to eat porridge and fruit regularly and avoid eating too much bread. I don’t believe in cutting out treats so I did still have some dark chocolate or a bag of low fat crisps- Everything in moderation, but I cut out the wine!


I was very strict with my eating and I enjoyed it for about three days until the hunger pangs set in, but I ignored it and instead of making good choices, like having some potatoes with my dinner instead of just veg, it result in me ending up in the crisp aisle in Lidl which led to a crisp and cracker filled evening of regret.

When I arrived home, I felt disgusted, here I was with this fabulous opportunity to get in shape and I was sabotaging myself, I began researching supplements and vitamins that help in staving off naughty cravings, when my friend simply suggested a little bit of will power and a little bit of mouthwash LOL!

This involved brushing my teeth, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash after I was finished my evening meal, that way I wouldn’t reach for a biscuit and 8 o clock at night!

And so I drew a line under Sunday and prepped my meals for the week, consisting of healthy chicken curry and wholegrain rice and a chicken dinner with a small bit of potatoes, as well as this I introduced 6 almonds for my afternoon snack and started eating avocados as recommended from the guys At The Fitness Centre!

So I actually began eating more! Making small changes here and there and documenting it! I also used the mouthwash technique, but I don’t feel as hungry in the evening so I hardly need the will power!

The workouts consist of weight training, and trust me I feel the burn, I started with a legs session last Friday and my thighs still hurt until the following Tuesday, despite having an arms session in between on the Saturday! But it was a good sore!

The second session was chest and back with a little bit of arms thrown in and I will find out what the third session of the week is this Saturday- post night out! Each session begins with a quick warm up on the cross trainer, which I like as it eases you in nicely before the pain!

The legs sessions surround squats and lunges, each exercise focusing on different parts of the legs for a total workout- You can definitely feel it, I’m like a waddling penguin at the end of each session!

The chest and back sessions mix up free weights and machine use, (I’m no expert- you will have to contact them to find out more).

Yesterday I trained arms, shoulders and back, and I’m not joking it actually hurts to type and I struggled to dress myself this morning but I’m feeling great, I have bundles of energy and I’m in a better mood- long may that continue LOL!

In terms of weight-loss, I had to weigh in yesterday and I get incredibly nervous for weigh-ins, I feel the pressure to perform each week, and while in the majority I had an extremely good week, thoughts of Sundays spiral was still playing on my mind and my own weighing scales broke, so I had no idea what was facing me!

But the guys At The Fitness Centre were so reassuring, they aren’t solely driven by results on the scales, but more so about you and changing your body, it has to be fun!

Thankfully, for my own goals I lost 6lbs this week and half an inch under my bust, a whole inch from my waist and even half an inch off my hips, but I don’t think I’ll ever lose my hips, I was completely ecstatic as my actual goal is to lose 10lbs on the program, so fingers crossed!

But more so, I am driven to take on the next week and the week after that until it’s a habit and then a lifestyle!

Contact them here, you’ll thank yourself later!


In The Beginning- A Weight Loss Journey

There was dread in the pit of my stomach, a curdling cocktail of nausea and heartburn, from all the festive eating, surfaced in my gut. My hands trembled as I scanned the room, attempting to fill out my membership form.

There was a sea of hopeful individuals, each one cleansing themselves of the cobwebs of the year before, detoxing themselves mind and body of the Christmas treats, each person at the starting line of a new adventure, a new identity. The sea began to form an orderly queue as we approached our leader, as we edged closer to our impending doom, the weighing scales- me, red faced, sweating, cloaked in layers of tshirts and ill-fitting tracksuits, one last feeble attempt to hide any wobble or chub, hair scraped back, for fear of anything adding to the scales. It was like an outer body experience, physically I stood on the scales, yet mentally my person was drowned out by the deafening thuds of my heart beat in my ears, I was 17.6 stone and I wasn’t even 17 yet!

Before Weight Watchers Christmas 2010

Realizing in 2011, just a month before my 17th birthday that I was indeed closer to 20 stone than 10 stone, I was shocked and disgusted at myself. The car trip home from the weigh in was met with a cascading amount of suffocating silence as I wept, despairing as to how the hell I would even manage to put a dent in that amount of weight!

I cried myself to sleep that night, but not before my dismal attempts at trying to console myself the way I had always done, with two bars of chocolate. That next week in school I felt so isolated and revolting, keeping to myself, both angry and upset at my horrific state, while I was no bigger or smaller than I always was, the numbers that now represented myself were catastrophic and embarrassing for any teenager- and it was all my fault.

Yet despite this I returned to Weight Watchers and lost 13.5lbs in the first three weeks, and slowly but surely the weight began to shift, slowly but surely I began to run and lift weights. I had to be very strict with my food diary, writing everything down and I cut out all bad crappy food- In a year exactly I lost 4.5 stone to arrive at my 18th Birthday party in a size 12 body-con dress, down three dress sizes- I thought I was the absolute shizz!

After 4.5stone Weight loss 2012

And I wish my journey continued as above, where I maintained my cast iron motivation and determination and I reached my goal weight, but life got in the way, as lame as the excuse sounds, but Leaving Cert exams took precedence, and while I maintained my weight for my Debs, the start of college sent me on a downward spiral which resulted in glandular fever.

Everyday I would come home from college and sleep on the couch and then sleep all night, I was lifeless, energy-less, a shell of my former self. Diet and exercise were a thing of the past and the weight crept on at an alarming rate. Mix this with a bad break up and a broken leg and you’ve got a recipe for weight gain disaster.I then joined a gym, one of Cork’s most expensive fitness plans, with the aim of changing my life- using my summer savings I signed myself up for a grueling 12 week plan which consisted of weight training, which I loved- the nutritionists, however caused me to develop a rather unhealthy relationship with my food.

This company were driven solely by results, tasking me the unrealistic view of losing 4 stone in 12 weeks and dropping 4 dress sizes, when I was only losing a steady 2lbs a week they lost all interest. Berating me for losing 3lbs instead of 5lbs, blaming me for cheating, losing my file and all record of my weigh ins, despite this I did lose 2 stone.

May 2014 vs January 2015

In September 2016, with a new job, a new adventure I bit the bullet and returned to weight watchers and lost 10lbs before Christmas- but the routine didn’t stick, I was all set for another spiral, another descent into weight gain territory, to never return again. Totally uninterested in weight watchers- I was contacted by Ann, a weight loss savior disguised as a gym owner, she offered me a 4 week health and fitness starter program in return for my blogging- and this is where my new journey with At The Fitness Centre begins- New Year New ME!!!

Based in Mayfield, At The Fitness Centre is home to Chris Mc and Ann, where they offer spin-fit, TRX and personal training sessions from only €30. The 4 week starter program consists of three 30 minute personal training sessions a week, working a different body group each session. Their exercises are weights based- so there’s no running involved, yet- We speed through a 30 minute session, I’m almost upset when it’s over- ALMOST, I have to be careful what I write in case they read this! LOL

They offer weekly weigh-ins and nutrition plans all for only €33/week. I had a consultation last Thursday which caused me to reevaluate my goals for the year- I would actually like to be bikini ready this year for the first time in 22 years!

I have had two training sessions so far, legs and chest and back- my legs are still suffering…I’ll weigh in Thursday and I’m hoping for good results, while I have only just started, their work ethic and their friendliness has made me think that this is the beginning of a long, suffering gym relationship!

I will update you all on Thursday good or bad- pray for me!!

Barbara X