8 Essentials every successful woman carries in her handbag…

 

“I think most of us, while we may look at the cute little purses, our lives don’t fit a cute little purse. Our lives fit something that is in between a purse and a briefcase, and that’s what I carry.” Claire McCaskill, US Senator.

Every woman owns a bag, it’s a bag not a purse, big enough to keep our lives organized, large enough to conceal all our secrets. They reflect our personalities from chic and minimalist to flamingo pink and leopard print. Strong and durable, a little like the owner herself.

And yet the handbag is not the most accessory, it is but the case holding all the vital items inside, essential to a successful woman’s everyday life. Here are our top 8 things successful women need in their handbags.

  1. Accessories and gadgets for your smartphone

Staying connected is key and professional women always have their smartphone or tablet in hand for readily available access to their emails and important contacts. A standard charger will do little for the woman who is always on the go and losing battery life, loses connection which can cost you money in this day and age. A portable charger is a must for every handbag!

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H&M Portable Charger in Rose Gold

 

2. Notebook/ Diary

While some people may create lists on their phones and use their Outlook account to manage their schedule, a good notebook and diary allows you to jot down ideas, activities throughout your day and other important lists with just the click of a pen. Whether its a work to-do list, a phone number or simply the shopping list, a notebook or diary is the quickest way to keep everything organized.

3.  Healthy Snack

A balanced diet and brain fuel is vital for optimum performance. Vitamin rich food like fruit and nuts are ideal for focus and concentration, and dried fruits are ideal in the afternoons to help in avoiding that 3pm slump!

However, the single most important item in every successful woman’s handbag should be her water bottle, hydration counteracts fatigue and keeps appetite regular, to keep strong and healthy. We should drink up to half our body weight in water for proper concentration and superior work performance.

 

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Bobble Water Bottle

4. Gym Membership

In the most typical New Year, New Me fashion I signed up for a months worth of swimming in the gym closest to my job in the attempts of a making exercise a staple in my day. I now swim each day before work which appears to be improving productivity and reducing the stress before it even appears.

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A good workout is filled with overwhelming benefits and releases endorphins, all while gaining strength and stamina to withstand anything the world can throw at you- prepare for world domination!

5. A good pair of flats!

While I have personally given up on my high heels, I reserve them for special occasions and car to bar outings, it doesn’t mean you have to!

Just carry a pair of flats in your handbag for a quick change, and just because their flat doesn’t mean they don’t have to be stylish!

 

6. Power Lipstick

Studies have shown that women should wear a bolder colour in presentations and meetings compared to their usual everyday look, to appear more confident. Regardless of the rest of your makeup, a quick swipe of good lipstick and you look put together in seconds.

Just make sure to pick a color that compliments your skin tone to make sure you look healthy and chic!

Red is my favourite pick for power lipstick; fair and medium complexions should pick a blue based red and embrace the pale, whereas olive and deeper complexions should choose a rusty, burgundy or berry tinted red.

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Chanel Rouge

7. USB Flash Drive

Keeping a flash drive on your keys allows you to check and back up important documents at all times. A life saver when traveling and giving presentations out of office.

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MAC Lipstick Memory Stick

8. Card Holder

Gone are the day where we could fit all our cards in our purses, from our gym membership cards, to our bus passes and even to our coffee loyalty cards, modern women are inundated with various important cards and keeping them safe in a separate compartment is paramount to quick and easy access. A cardholder is for the woman who has everything!

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New Season Givenchy Cardholder

Do you carry any of these in your handbag- what are your essentials?

 

Why I am giving up Beauty Blogging

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There are an estimated 31 million bloggers in the world; full time professionals, entrepreneurs, hobbyists and part time professionals. However, only 2% of this group are successfully monetizing their sites, and while I am an engineer it doesn’t take a genius to conclude that the probability of success in this industry is pretty dismal. And while I never created a blog with the intention of making money or to take on blogging full time it is still disheartening to see the current state of the saturated blogging market.

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I am an amateur blogger, attempting to share my views, tips and tricks on all things beauty related and when I created the blog in 2015 it was still a relatively new concept. Fast forward to January 2017 and the blogging boom is well and truly upon us, and I feel like there’s a change to come, 2016 came with the end of the term “blogger”, with those with blogs referring to themselves as influencers rather than bloggers, but how can you have a blog without a blogger? Short answer being, you can’t!

Scanning through my Instagram I struggle to find a fresh, original post- everyone is either copying each other or simply stealing posts with no credit acknowledged. There are too many beauty bloggers and not enough new content, there isn’t enough products and cosmetics in the world for a new aspect.

Growth and reach is no longer down to talent or aesthetically pleasing photos and content, but rather money and Facebook ad subscriptions. I am currently studying an MSc in Business and Marketing, where I am learning about digital sales and marketing and I apply the knowledge to my blog in the desperate attempt to reinvigorate its presence only to see a minimal reach and a steady decline in followers. It’s now rigged to suit those with big pockets and large endorsements.

In the last week I have seen two highly influential, and in my opinion, hugely successful bloggers simply leave the industry, and while perhaps it could be down to unrelated issues, I am concerned that the integrity of bloggers will only be questioned more and more and beauty blogging will die as a result.

There is a discontinuity coming to the market and I am branching out as a result, I don’t want to have to steal ideas from other bloggers who work incredibly hard to create content, or simply be one more Facebook page blagging about the same makeup range. It isn’t fair on the other bloggers, instead I want to reach out to a previously untouched customer- I want to be proactive and disrupt the market, and to do that I am putting an end to my beauty blog once and for all!

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Confessions of a College Graduate

Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.

Some of you may not know this about me, but I am a recent Electrical Engineering graduate, I even managed a 1.1 in a level 8 degree!

Some of may also be unaware that I have never desired nor wished to be an engineer.

My engineering degree capped off the most taxing four years of my life, it signalled my lack of social development and the omission of that so-called college experience.

I will always remember my induction day at my local institute of technology, that tumultuous moment when the student leader named out our class list, the sickening nodules that formed together in the pit of my stomach as I willed the senior student to call out one more name that would mean I was no longer alone amidst the sea of boys, but alas no such name was mentioned, no such solace arrived and on my first day of a new adventure I realised that I was the only girl in my year!

The ugly truth that no one tells you about engineering is that girls should do it, it is a course perfectly suited to our over analytical  young adult mind-sets and attention to finite detail, but seldom girls ever choose it and why would they? Because unfortunately the overly male orientated world of engineering hasn’t changed or vastly improved in the last thirty years and undoubtedly won’t in the next.

Throughout my degree I was the only one asked in my course why I chose Electrical Engineering, I was the one whose possible sanity was questioned, I was the one stared at like an other world alien as I was a girl who had chosen this course. The men however, their decisions were never questioned, as if they had obviously chosen a logical college course that would root a smooth and rewarding career path, I on the other-hand was an unnerving enigma.

I chose engineering because it was logical, 2012 was a difficult time, in the peak of recession there was a job drought and a future decision for an 18-year-old was an obnoxious task during leaving cert year, so I took my first adult breath and made a decision that would stay with me forever, I am good at maths, I am going to be an engineer.

This was not the answer I told lecturers and my peers, I simply informed them that my dad was an electrical engineer and that relaxed them, they could compute this, that made sense to them. The only girls they had ever met in engineering were following in familial footsteps as god forbid a girl could make up her own mind.

Life is difficult in minority, I quickly realised guys find it awkward when you’re the only girl, it irritated them, it resulted in me eating lunch alone. At first the canteen wasn’t so daunting sitting at a lunch table alone, you could pretend you were meeting someone or that you were too busy studying and happy to be alone with your thoughts, but that novelty soon wore off and I retreated back to the engineering department and spent my time isolated, hiding from the world, defeated and embarrassed.

I began to excel academically from the excess time spent on assignments, that no one noticed that my social skills were depleting at such an intense rapid rate that towards the end of my second year of college, I struggled to maintain eye contact with others. My ability to converse with others was diminishing and small talk was a thing of the past. No one noticed that eight-hour college days past without someone so much as looking in my direction, let alone speaking to me.

And yet despite everything, I owe my whole self to Electrical Engineering. If I had done a different course I may not have gotten a retail part-time job, where I discovered the sheer love I had for makeup, blogging and in turn marketing. Had I ended up in any other situation my life would’ve amounted to numerous different possibilities, none of which leading me to where I am now, to a Masters that challenges me daily but sparks my appetite for learning and to an internship that is everything I could have ever asked for.

Engineering broke me, my heart and my spirit but it triggered a series of catalytic occurences that caused me to flourish into a person with the strength and resilience to tackle any challenge and any opportunity.

To Electrical Engineering and CIT, you have made me everything I am today.

Remember that everything that is happening around you, good or bad, is in some way conspiring to help you.
Debasish Mridha

Product Empties

I have decided to put together a collection of products I have been loving so much I have used them all up!

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Kerastase Ciment Thermique

This is a heat protecting hair serum from Kerastase. It is a hair repairing balm which protects hair from heat styling and repairs hair that is over processed and over styled. I use this on towel dried hair just before straightening it. It reduces overall frizziness and makes my hair feel silky smooth. It also smells amazing!

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YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat

Everyone in the beauty industry freaked out when YSL changed their holy grail foundation formula and re-branded it as a full coverage foundation, but not me! This is my all time favourite base. It is light in formula and doesn’t feel too heavy on, but it is full coverage! It comes in a range of shades, both yellow based and pinky based, I wear the shade BD01, it is a little pricey at €42 a bottle, but it last ages!

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It gives a gorgeous dewy glow while perfecting the skin and blurring any imperfections on the face. It lasts all day and due to the lack of SPF in it it is perfect for nights out and photographs as it has a no flash back. I am also completely in love with the gold YSL packaging! I buff this into the skin daily using the Real Techniques buffing brush! I bought this from Brown Thomas Cork but can be bought on YSL counters nationwide.

Lancome Mousse Eclat

I bought this on a whim when I needed a new facial cleanser. I prefer foam cleansers as I find them a little gentler on the skin. I was nervous about trying this out as I had never used the Lancome skincare range before but I loved it. It lasted ages as one pump of the foaming cleanser washed my whole face. It removed any scrape of makeup or dirt from it leaving my face feel squeaky clean. I will definitely be repurchasing!

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Nuxe Precious Scented Shower Oil

I love this range from Nuxe, it literally smells like you have stepped into a spa. I got this shower gel as part of a free gift and I love it so much. I normally don’t have much of an affinity with shower gels but this one was different. It has the same scent as Nuxe’s cult classic multi-use oil and its oil infused formula leaves the skin feeling super soft. It also has gold flecks throughout the shower oil which gives your skin a beautiful glow, it’s gorgeous with a tan!

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Lancome Advanced Genefique

I have been using this serum for a good while and I can seriously see what the hype is! It is a FANTASTIC product. Its youth activating concentrate promises younger-looking, radiant skin! Skin is immediately soothed and smoothed, soft to the touch while its anti-ageing properties plumps and nourishes the skin for an all over radiant glow! While it is expensive at €73 for a 30ml bottle this serum should last you a long time as you need only apply 3 drops of the serum across the face and neck!

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Lancome Grandiose Liner

The latest innovation in liquid eyeliner comes from Lancome’s bendable brush. It adapts to everyone’s unique eye shape for easy application. It has an incredibly thin tip allows for a precise line and its highly pigmented formula gives a long lasting matte finish that dries in super quickly!

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So there you have the products I have loved so much that I used up!

Until next time….

Happy Shopping

Not So Dumb Blonde X

Nuxe Needs!

**I was gifted these products with the aim of writing a review on each, all views and opinions are my own**

Hi All,

I was recently gifted two Nuxe products to review on my blog from the lovely Joanne in Sam McCauley Chemists, the multi use Nuxe dry oil and their new roll on radiance boosting face mask, Nuxe Nuxuriance Ultra Re-Plumpling Roll-On Mask!

Nuxe Multi Use Dry Oil

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I had used the Nuxe dry oil before and I love it, the first you’ll notice about this product is that it smells AMAZING, its oil is infused six different botanical oils which results in the closest thing to a Spa Day in a bottle!

Its vitamin E infused oil nourishes, repairs and softens your face, body and hair in a single go. It leaves your skin velvety soft giving a lasting subtle fragrance. I have also used it during the summer months on my hair to keep it silky soft and protected against the heat and colour treatments.

It is suitable for any skin type, even my own super sensitive skin, as it is 100% hypoallergenic.

This is a gorgeous beauty treatment for all, whatever their age, skin and hair type!

It comes in both 100ml and a 30ml size are priced from €19.50 to €33.00 and you buy this little beauty here

Nuxe Nuxuriance Ultra Re-Plumpling Roll-On Mask

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This is the newest mask on the market from Nuxe, its lotion type texture glides on to the face to provide a rejuvenating, hydrating treatment specially designed to tackle any signs of ageing on the face!

From the get-go the skin looks smoother, firmer and more youthful, all in all more radiant.

The thing I loved the most about this product is the unique massaging applicator which gives an extra freshening technique, it also reduces bacteria on the skin as your hand don’t touch your face. It’s a win win beauty product.

It is encapsulated with saffron and bougainvillea extracts which stimulate the production of new skin cells and the hyaluronic acid hydrates deeply so that your skin appears plumper, more rested and wrinkles appear reduced!

It can be used daily on cleansed, the mask is left on for 10 minutes and then removed either with a dry cotton pad or a facial cleanser. It can also be overnight to wake up with refreshed replenished glow!

It retails at €32.95 and I got mine from Sam McCauley Chemists Blackpool, but can also be bought online from here

Until Next Time…..

Happy Shopping

Not So Dumb Blonde X

Skincare Saviours for Sensitive Skin

I have suffered with my skin since I was 11 years old. Unfortunately puberty seemed to hit me like a giant train and I was blessed with acne, mix that up with severely sensitive skin and I have spent hundreds of euro on skin care that has ended up looking pretty in my bedroom but being completely useless in helping my skin.

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After years of trial and errors I have found a cocktail of skin saviours that suit breakout prone, sensitive skin that I thought I’d share with all my lovely followers!

Here are my top 5 products for sensitive skin….

  1. La Roche Posay Micellar Water

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Micellar water is one of my favourite skincare products on the market. It is a lazy girls dream, it removes makeup and cleanses skin with a swipe of a cotton pad! La roche posay is tested on the most sensitive of skin and is made with thermal spring water. It delicately rids sensitive skin of impurities, and makeup with its soap free formulation that is 100% hypoallergenic. It costs about €15 for a 200ml bottle and it can be purchased here

2. Normaderm Beautifying Anti-Blemish Moisturiser

I like to alternate my day moisturisers as my skin can change between both oily, breakout prone and sensitive and dry. Most anti-blemish moisturiser are primarily to reduce the appearance of spots and acne, but the newest moisturiser in the Normaderm range also helps your skin stay hydrated as well as radiant and beautiful. It is a more broad spectrum moisturiser as it provides 24 hour hydration it suits more skin types while still tackling breakouts when it’s needed. Its super light texture allows for fast absorption and is perfect to be worn under a full face of makeup. This has become one of my go to moisturiser for when my skin acts up. I picked mine up in Sam McCauley Chemists but it can also be bought here

3. La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5

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Everyone needs this balm in their makeup drawer. It can be used by adults children and babies for any type of minor skin irritations. I have used it on major skin breakouts and on shavers rash. It can also be used on tight, sensitive skin, nappy rash, cracked skin and chapped lips. It soothes, protects and repairs sensitive skin practically overnight. I mostly use this at night-time if my skin is really irritated, it has a thick balm like texture, which when dries into the skin gives a non greasy finish.

It comes in two sizes a 50ml tube and a 100ml tube ranging from €7.50 to €13.50 and also comes in a range with an SPF 50 and can be purchased here

4. Avéne Eau Thermale Spring Water

The Avéne spring water mist is perfect soothing care for sensitive skin. It can be sprayed onto the skin over makeup or just after cleansing to soothe irritated, tight, sensitive skin. I have the travel size in my handbag for anytime I feel like my skin needs to be soothed or refreshed. Boots Ireland have the full range of Avéne skin care and can be bought here

5. Clarins Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm.

Due to my acne I use a lot of harsh anti blemish skin care on my face which can be quite drying especially on the lips. I suffer quite regularly from dry, tight, chapped lips so a friend of mine recommended the Clarins Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm. This is by far the most expensive lip balm I have ever owned, at €21 I was a little sceptical on how good it could possibly be, but this is an investment beauty product for those of you who may suffer from chapped lips. It repairs and protects lips with its rose wax as well as its SPF 15 it helps insulate lips from ageing from the sun, it can be bought here.

Until Next Time….

Happy Shopping,

Not So Dumb Blonde X

Lash Extensions at Shirley’s Beauty Clinic

I recently made a trip to Shirley’s Beauty Clinic in Glanmire for a set of eyelash extensions, I have previously had two separate sets of lash extensions that have cost a fortune but have only lasted between a week to 10 days so I was hoping that I would have better luck this time!

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Shirley’s has been open in the heart of Glanmire since 1998 and provides a massive range of different treatments and a very high level of experienced therapists.

They do Russian volume lashes which are a technique using ultra light extensions, your technician hand makes a fan and places it on one natural lash.

 The end result is a dense lash line with a soft, fluffy finish that’s lighter in weight than traditional extensions and healthier for your natural lash.

Also known as 2D, 3D, 4D etc Eyelash Extensions, Russian Volume is the newest technology in Eyelash Extensions that are proven to out-perform classic (or 1D) Eyelash Extensions in density and comfort as well as being healthier on the natural eyelash because of the lighter weight application.

 The volume acheiveable with Classic Eyelash Extensions is limited to the number of natural eyelashes a person has. Those with thin and sparse natural eyelashes weren’t able to acheive a volumous look due to the damage the weight of a heavy extension would cause. 

They offer three different levels of eyelash extensions looks depending on the amount of eyelashes you want applied and the intensity of the look desired.

Keria was my therapist and I chose the most natural option Shirley’s has on offer but the results were still absolutely incredible.

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Eyelashes with mascara vs Ms Elegant Eyelash extensions

Russian volume lashes lasts between 4-8 weeks provided they are cared for correctly.

Shirley’s give a detailed aftercare leaflet and lash brush in order to care for your lashes.

  1. Brush lashes daily.

Keep your lashes looking nice and fresh with a little brush throughout the day. You should receive a brand new mascara wand after every appointment to keep them nice and aligned. Lashes should not need to be force brushed. If they are done properly, a little light brush is all you need. They should never look messy.

2. Cleanse lashes daily.

It’s so important to cleanse your lashes daily. Eyelashes catch debris and dust from entering into your eyes. If you are not cleansing daily, those debris and bacteria’s build up on your extensions. Yuck!

3. Maintain them by getting fills no later than every 3 weeks.

Because of the natural lash shedding cycle, you need to maintain your eyelash extensions to keep them looking fresh and full, nice and even.

4. Use oily substances.

Oil degrades the adhesive slowly. So be sure to steer clear of all oily lotions and potions that get near your eyes.

5. Pick or pull on your lashes.

Natural eyelashes go through a shedding cycle, just like your hair! Lashes fall out, with the extension attached, and a new lash grows in its place. Picking and pulling on those extensions runs the risk of premature shedding, and there is only so many pulls before lashes don’t grow back! Eyelashes are the most delicate cycle on the body, so treat them with care.

I booked in for an eyelash top-up after four weeks.

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Eyelashes after 4 weeks

The full set of Ms. Elegant lashes took 1 hours and cost me €65 and the lash top-up a month later cost €30 and only took 30 minutes to complete.

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After eyelash top-up

I am now completely hooked on lash extensions and will definitely be back!

Appointments can be through Shirley’s Beauty Clinic’s Facebook page here.

Until Next Time.

Happy Shopping

Not So Dumb Blonde X