Author Archives: Robyn

Large Blog Image
Nov. 04.

Alas, For This Is The End

Large Blog ImageAs may be obvious, I have been struggling for posts for a while now. I have thought and thought about what I could write about. I have taken some photos to do posts, but I have been unable to write them. And, finally, yesterday, I came to the realisation as to why.

Beauty blogging just doesn’t inspire me any more. As much as I would love to say it does, I can’t. And that leads me to a conundrum. I want you to be able to feel my passion when I write. I want to be passionate about what I write. If I can’t be passionate, it shows in my writing, and that is something that I could never subject you to.

For that reason, this will be my last post on Robyn Rants and Raves for the foreseeable future. That does not mean that I don’t want to continue blogging. I do very much want to keep writing. I am just unsure what direction I want to go. I am thinking through ideas for a new project, so I will be about, hopefully sooner than you think.

I value every opportunity Robyn Rants and Raves has given me. I value every pageview, every reader, every person I have met through here. Most of you have become good friends, and I do very much hope that we remain friends into the future.

The immortal words of a Mr. Bilbo Baggins seem an apt way of finishing:

“I regret to announce — this is The End. I am going now. I bid you all a very fond farewell.”

Farewell for now!

Robyn

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Large Blog Image
Oct. 07.

Waffle Wednesday: Where Have I Been

ww-logo-thYes, I know I have been posting a little sporadically on Robyn Rants and Raves for the past while. Yes, I know I should post more often (I am working on that). But I haven’t been doing nothing. I have been keeping busy. And as this counts as a post, and keeps everyone here up to date, let me tell you, where have I been?

Okay, having been unwell, there was a time where Robyn Rants and Raves had my (almost) undivided attention. I needed the distraction, and here was perfect. But, I am no longer unwell. In July my GP told me I was fit to go looking for work again (hallelujah!). The finding work bit hasn’t been easy (boooo), mainly because I have a particular skillset, but I don’t have a qualification in what I know how to do. I am changing that though!

In September, I was told to apply to do a course. I was given two weeks to do that (the department of social protection are so generous!). I couldn’t take that long, and within 24 hours had researched courses, applied to one, and been accepted. And at the end of last month, I became a student in Dublin Business School, studying Digital Marketing. It is the choicest parts of a 3 year degree, stuck together into a 1 year course, but I get a Level 7 award at the end of it. I will talk more about the course over the next year, but it was a joyous relief to be told that a large part of one module is being graded on the “setting up and running of a blog”, and that we are to use WordPress. Well, I’ve been blogging here for 3 years, and using WordPress for longer, so I went up, kissed the lecturer (not quite) and did a happy dance.

My digital home from home :-)

My digital home from home :-)

I’ve also been working on getting fitter, and losing some weight, as I have on occasion blogged about. Well, it is most definitely working. I now train using a heart rate monitor, and can push myself so much harder. I can cover the 2.14 km circle around the local park in 4:30 (the first time I tried it was closer to 6 minutes), and I can now climb hills too! It was a great feeling to go up the hill that beat me the first time out on the bike, and go sailing over the top of it.

Finally, as I do enjoy my food (maybe a little too much) I have been spending a bit of time in the vegetable garden. Most of what we’ve grown for the year has been eaten now, but the most recent thing to be taken out of the garden is a pumpkin (actually, 3 pumpkins). They should be orange around the end of the month. I learned from lifting them up, they’re heavy!

The most orange of the pumpkins

The most orange of the pumpkins

All this means that I have gone from having too little to do and too much time, to too much to do and not plan as to when to do it. Things are settling down a bit more now, so I am finding more time to blog, and I plan on getting regular posts going again soon. Someone put the rugby on at the same time, and those rugby players, and Nigel Owens (I do have a little crush on Nigel, but who doesn’t?) can be a distraction too. I am working on getting everything back on track. As the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy says, Don’t Panic!

Robyn

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nails-noflash
Oct. 05.

Manicure Monday: NYC Foil Explosion Nails

mm-nyc-thIt is October. The nights are drawing in. The weather is getting worse, mostly. I am starting to root out the darker polishes that just work with this time of year. And yet, with the unseasonable (can we talk about seasons in Ireland?) warm weather, I don’t want to give up on brightness too much too soon. That is why this is a perfect polish to work with this week. This week’s Manicure Monday is from New York Colour, and is from their Foil Explosion range, called Power of Elements.

nails-bottle

I’ve had the Foil Explosion range in my collection for a while now. I think I got them in 2013, but the internet is telling me that the set of 5 is still available. In addition to Power of Elements, this purple, there is a pink, green, blue and a copper coloured one. As you can kind of pick up from the name too, they are all a metallic foil finish. Now, let’s look at Power of Elements a little closer.

NYC, as a brand, has almost always punched well above its weight with me. There was only ever one product, a foundation, that I didn’t agree with. For a budget brand, that is good going. I would reasonably expect this to be no different. The lid fits in my hand well enough, without it being anything special, and the brush is, well, a brush. It flexes and spreads just as it should. It does the job. The polish, on the other hand, is something a bit more worthy of talking about. It is PIGMENTED! Some polishes claim to be one coat, and yeah, you would get away with it. This really is a one coat polish. From the moment it it my nails, they were colourful. Out of habit I went for a second coat, just because, but if I was in a hurry, I could go without. Then there is the finish of it…

nails-noflash

nails-flash

You are buying it for the metallic foil finish, right? That is what you get, no doubt about it! It delivers what it promises, and then some. Not only that, but it has staying power too. I once did my toes with this polish, and it was still there weeks later.

When you get a pocket friendly product, sometimes you are willing to put up with it being only okay. With this one, your €2.99 (if memory serves me correctly) gets you much more than that. It can be difficult at times to impress me, but this did impress me!

Robyn

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primer-bottle
Sep. 15.

Tried Tuesday: Flormar Illuminating Primer Base

tt-primer-thPrimer is a love or leave product. Some love it. Some wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole. I happen to be in the former camp here. I love a good primer, and for a long time my go to primer was the GOSH Velvet Touch primer. I ran out of it though, and have been looking at different ones for a while now. Which brings me to the subject of today’s post. Today’s post is my trying another primer. In this case the primer I am trying is Flormar’s Illuminating Primer Base.

primer-bottle

First things first. I am used to seeing compacts in tubes, in tubs, and occasionally in compacts. Not so in this case. In here we have a bottle. A bottle with a pump top. Curious. I am used to seeing primers as being quite a bit thicker, and not being able to be passed through a pump. This isn’t right… Or is it? Have I been using a thick primer by mistake all along?

primer-pump

Rooting through my makeup drawers led to three other primers being pulled out:

  • Makeup Revolution Ultra All Day Prime & Anti Shine Balm (middle left)
  • Benefit The Porefessional (middle right)
  • Wet n Wild Coverall Primer (far right)

primer-samples

Here we have four different primers, and all four are different. Two, the Makeup Revolution & Benefit are thick, gloopy, and quite siliconey in texture. The Wet n Wild & Flormar are lighter, and more liquid.

primer-spread

As you start to spread them out, you see exactly what I mean. The two exceptionally thick ones are very slow to move about. They are better off being used for particular spots that need help. The Wet n Wild is something in between. It is able to move around more. The Flormar one is something of a wonder. As you start moving it, it melts and flows across the skin really beautifully. A little goes a long way with it. A single pump will happily do your whole face. But, when you add a foundation on top of it, how does it do? I’ll show you how it does.

primer-skin

It made for a really beautiful application of foundation (this is Max Factor Skin Luminizer). It couldn’t be faulted in any way. I loved how it looks, and well, I think I am converted to a new way of looking at primers.

What is your favourite primer? Do you prefer thick, or thin primers? Please do let me know.

Robyn

Note: Product was provided for review

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garnet-bottle
Sep. 14.

Manicure Monday: Champneys Nail Polish in Garnet

mm-garnet-thIt can be very difficult to enamour me with a red nail polish. I have a few I know and love, and I am fiercely loyal to them. But at the same time I am a blogger (or a collector, or a hoarder) and that means every so often I have to try another one. So, after having it on my desk for a long time, I finally got around to trying Garnet, from the Champneys Nail Polish collection.

garnet-bottle

This came as part of a set of six in a Christmas gift set in 2014. I picked it up in January 2015, when Boots were selling them off, and as it is more of an Autumn/Winter shade I didn’t do much outside swatching it for my nail polish board. It was time recently to start looking at those colours again (goodbye summer, we’ll miss all 3 days of you) and this was the one to try out.

The bottle, and the brush, is the same as that of the Max Factor Gel Shine Lacquers. I quite liked the brush of them, and I quite like the brush of this. The formula was workable, but, especially on the first coat, not very spreadable. It fared better on the second coat, but it really took three coats to really build up the colour intensity. I locked it in with a coat of their own base/top coat, which was part of the set.

Here’s how it looked.

Garnet-noflash

garnet-flash

I could be harsher on this, but I wont be. It is a nice enough colour. I quite like it, but I have similar from China Glaze. Obviously, with the CG being much more expensive, I expect, and get more out of it. This however, as a set of 6, had a box price of €15. I paid half that in the sale, so it was great value. It lasted 4 days before chipping too much to last any longer, and it looked good on my nails. If you are the kind of person who will gladly spend €20 plus on a single polish, you may choose to give these a miss. If you gotta have them all, or are buying as a gift for someone (that season is coming, y’know) then this is definitely something to consider. It’s not great, but it is certainly not bad either.

Robyn

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nails-flash
Sep. 07.

Manicure Monday: Flormar Jelly Look Nail Enamel

nails-flormar-thI was recently at the Irish launch of Flormar, an Italian makeup brand, founded in the 1970’s in Milan before going global. While there I was told there is a choice of 1,000 nail polish shades to choose from. Yes, you heard that right, 1,000! (Yes, I do want all of them). Fortunately I have the first in my collection, in this case shade JL10, simply called Turquoise Green, from their Jelly Look collection.

nails-bottle

Turquoise happens to be a great fit for me, being the December birthstone, and it helps that it is such a bright blue green, considering we are rapidly running out of good weather. The brush included is quite wide and quite flat, allowing great movement of the polish. The polish itself though concerned me a little. After one coat the coverage left a lot to be desired. It was patchy and streaky and wasn’t looking promising. The second coat though made things so much happier. Having a base layer of the polish really allowed the coverage to pick up, and the difference was plain to see. I added a third coat though, just to ensure that the colour was perfect. I’m glad I persevered, as the finish is spectacular. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves though.

nails-noflash

nails-flash

It is gorgeous, isn’t it? I am annoyed with myself for trying it so late in the year when I will end up switching to darker colours, but I am thinking that this will be high on my spring list, and that I need to find a Flormar stand soon to check out the other colours! I will let you know when I find out more about stockists and prices (though this particular range of polishes is about €4.50 IIRC), but the EXCELLENT news is that these are very pocket friendly!

Have you tried, or seen Flormar? What do you think of this colour? And do you follow the whole bright in summer, dark in winter thing? Please do let me know!

Robyn

*Product was provided for review

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applepear
Sep. 01.

Tried Tuesday: Twinings Fruit Tea

tt-twining-thI’m typically a builders and milk kind of girl. In other words I have very simple tastes in tea. It also helps, as that is usually what you get when anyone asks you “Do you want tea? Ah go on go on go on!” Recently though, I saw good things about fruit teas (I’m not sure who, or where from, such is the way information flies past on my social media accounts) For that reason, while I was at Tesco over the weekend, I picked up two boxes of fruit tea from Twinings. Their Apple & Pear, and Cherry & Cinnamon.

applepear

The first one I went for was the Apple & Pear, as they are two of my favourite fruits. It is delightfully simple to prepare, as you put a bag into a mug, and add boiling water. Leave it to infuse, and you’re done. My first impressions of it were not great. Being so used to regular tea meant it was a little difficult to adjust to something different. That said though, by the end of the mug I was enjoying it. Really liking it. It was something I could get used to, and I already have.

cherrycinnamon

The second one is the Cherry & Cinnamon. Having already become used to fruit tea from the Apple & Pear, it was immediately possible to get stuck in to this. It is a lot more warming than the first, thanks to the cinnamon, and I am really enjoying drinking it in evenings, while the Apple & Pear is better during the day. Both are delightfully fruity, and exceptionally easy to drink.

A couple of things I have learned though, and deserve to be mentioned. While the infusing time is listed as 2-3 minutes, they really benefit from longer, up to 5 minutes to really build up the flavour (I really dislike things that purport to be a particular flavour, which you then can’t taste). Also, the longer infusing time allows it to cool off just enough to allow you to get the flavour, and not the “Ouch, I just boiled my tongue” sensation. Finally, if you were drinking a lot of normal tea, and then go to something like this, which is caffeine free, you may want to not cut caffeine fully. I actually got a really bad headache, which was cured by regular tea. Wean yourself down first.

At €2.25 ish for 20, they are not the cheapest teas ever, but they are on offer at the moment (2 for €3.50 in Tesco). So, what kind of tea drinker are you. Are there any flavours you would recommend. Please talk to me in the comments.

Robyn

 

*Image credit: www.twinings.co.uk

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mascara-name
Aug. 25.

Tried Tuesday: Wet n Wild Max Volume Plus Mascara

mascara-thI’ve talked about Wet n Wild mascaras before on Robyn Rants and Raves, and they haven’t necessarily been top of my list. I remember one I tried started off very wet, before eventually becoming usable. I’m always willing to try out another product though, so today for Tried Tuesday, I have their Wet n Wild Max Volume Plus mascara.

mascara-tube

This bills itself, as the name suggests, as a volumising mascara, but there is something more to it. It took me a while to figure out what exactly that was, but then I paid more attention to the brush…

Here is the brush in all its spindly rubbery bristleyness (I did just make that word up, but it may yet catch on), and I realised it. It is quite reminiscent of the brush from my beloved They’re Real, minus the end bristles. Okay, it is a bit more sculpted than the Benefit brush, but as I love what They’re Real does for my eyes, I was interested to see what this does for me. There is of course only one way around that, and that is to wear it.

For these product photos there is nothing else on my eyes. I wanted all the focus to be on the lashes. To start with, here is a bare eye.

mascara-eyenone

It’s plain, dull, uninteresting. Now, lets get some mascara on there. One coat first.

mascara-eyeone

Hmmm… We may be getting somewhere. After one coat there is already so much going on. My lashes appear fuller, blacker, lengthened and curled. So far so good. One more coat should do it.

mascara-eyetwo

And with the second coat, there is no huge clumping that you can get with some mascaras, there is yet more volume, and the length and curl are still there, not dragged down by the weight of product.

This is a great result from Max Volume Plus. I’ve worn it for a full day on a couple of occasions, and it performs admirably. It doesn’t flake and scatter over your face, and it doesn’t transfer, unless you are really rubbing at it.

For a reasonably cheap mascara (Max Volume Plus is €5.49, above some others in the cheap ranges, but still a fantastic price) it punches far above its weight. I do see myself happily reaching for it time and time again that I want a nice everyday mascara, and I thoroughly believe you should too.

If you haven’t yet found your nearest Wet n Wild stand, you can find your nearest stockist here, but if you have, what do you think of their mascaras. Am I missing anything? Let me know in a comment.

Robyn

 

* Product was provided for review

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ses-date
Aug. 16.

Something Else Sunday: The Creepiest Twitter Date That Never Was

ses-date-thI’m sure most of us have been there, with someone trying to chat us up, failing, and having us desperately trying to get away. It can be hilarious. It can be excruciating, it can be downright mortifying. But it can also make for a great story to laugh at afterwards. So, here is my story of my recent Twitter Date, that was never actually a date.

If you are young and good looking, chances are you’ve encountered this type of account on Twitter. Guy, not too many tweets, and just as few followers. For the purposes of this, I shall refer to him only as “Subject X” (even though that makes it sound like a twisted experiment). He was following about a hundred people, mostly of the good looking female variety, and he had 9 tweets, all variations of the “Hello Dear, I’d like to get to know you” kind. If you haven’t guessed it yet, he had one thing on his mind. Being up for a laugh, I decided to play along for a while, and followed him back. It didn’t take long for a DM to arrive, which read:

Subject X
Hi dear how are you doing its nice yo be friends with you on here…
you got a nice profile…where do you come from hope you dont mind me asking??

So far, so dull, but I answered, being truthful, but vague. I’m from Dublin, so I didn’t get more specific than that. He then asked me about if I am living with family (yes, but I don’t have my own family), before I asked him to tell me something about himself. This isn’t a one way conversation!

From that I learned:

  • He comes from Palm Beach, Florida
  • He is  in the US Army
  • Currently deployed in Libya “on a peace keeping”
  • He is single (well, if he is looking for a hookup, it does help)
  • He lost his parents 5 years ago in a motor accident
  • He was taken in and raised by his uncle, who is a reverend father

Right, nothing serious so far, I was sorry to hear about his parents, but was happy to see he is so positive considering the situation he is in. Standard small talk stuff. He asked my age, to which I replied mid 20’s (which is not far off), and the reply was maybe one of someone who isn’t mastering the English language, as he replied:

Subject X
wow you look matured and good i guess you have a boy friend

I would have never thought you tell a woman you look “matured”, unless you want a slap/drink thrown over you. I let it slide though. Things may be getting interesting. I explained that I was single, but was in a long distance relationship for 5 years (true). On being asked why it never worked out:

@robyntmorton
My girlfriend lived in Missouri, and 4,000 miles is a long distance to make it work out.

A pertinent bit of information there. My girlfriend. Did he pick up on that? If he did would I be writing this? Of course he didn’t. Instead his reply let slip some of the purpose of this whole conversation:

Subject X
okay i understand and tell me why since then you never want any relationship again can i ask you a question will you like having a serious relationship again and get married and have your own family some day i wish for that

Did I ever say I didn’t want any relationship again? Did I mention marriage and family? Is this what you are looking for, Subject X? Still I continued to play along, yet again not mentioning men or boyfriends.

@robyntmorton
I didn’t say I don’t want any relationship again. I just want the right person, and a family would be nice.

Alas he both did and didn’t pick up on the whole person thing. He is still convinced I am looking for a man, but did suddenly figure out that I was using the term “person” (he may be catching on – or not)

Subject X
okay i understand you tell me what kind of man would you like to have some day

@robyntmorton
I want someone with a great personality. Kind, funny, witty. Someone who I want to spend all my time with!

Subject X
wow thats very interesting and you really deserve such man well truly i want the same but its so hard this days to find the right one

Subject X
I enjoy slow or fast dancing, walking in the woods holding, hands, candlelite dinners, travel, shopping and watching movies, and playing romantic piano for that special person. I love snuggling and sharing passionate kisses with that special person.

So, he cottoned on to the person thing, and started using punctuation, though I question whether he likes walking in the woods holding, and also likes hands, or he likes walking in the woods holding hands. Maybe it is time to start ramping up the messages that I am not interested, and am really just winding him up. So, when being asked what I like and dislike, I dropped this little message in there:

@robyntmorton
I love spending time with my friends, enjoying good food and laughter. Friends are important to me. I don’t really like random pushy people.

Random pushy people. Does that include those who randomly follow you on Twitter looking for a wife? Apparently not! So it continued. Can I cook well, do I like food? (Is he looking for a wife to stay at home and create care packages for him while he is out policing the world?) Yes, I can cook. I love scallops (a seafood), so I was surprised by the next question – Do I like seafood? (sigh – how much longer can this go on). Maybe it is time to make it so blindingly obvious that I am taking the piss. Come on Subject X, give me the opportunity! He dutifully obliged!

Subject X
oh really thats so great well i havnt been to Ireland before and dont know how it looks but i will like to Visit your country maybe sometime

@robyntmorton
Ireland is beautiful. Very green lots of fields, great people and some leprechauns.

Oh come on, if that doesn’t make him realise, nothing ever will! Guess what, he didn’t realise, or he does believe in leprechauns!

Subject X
wow i like the way you put those words and i will like coming there to build and start my own family??

Woah there! Now you’re freaking me out. You both didn’t get the leprechaun thing, and you’re coming to Ireland to start your family. Don’t you know the rules of dating (Twitter or otherwise), you never mention starting a family on the first date! I have to get out of this! But I also have to be polite, so I obligingly tell him he is always welcome to visit Ireland (everyone always is), except for the fact that he took it as an official invitation!

I needed an out. Asking me for pictures seemed ideal, and I did try to let him down gently…

@robyntmorton
There I am in my profile picture. That is me!

@robyntmorton
Anyway, it has been nice talking to you Subject X, but I don’t think you are the special person I am looking for. I can’t do another long distance relationship. Stay safe out there, and best of luck to you!

I don’t think it had the desired effect, and I may have broken Subject X’s heart…

Subject X
Hey why do you say this

@robyntmorton
Because you are not the person I want to spend my life with, but I don’t want any harm to come to you? I’m being polite.

Subject X
its okay dear i understand??

@robyntmorton
It’s late here. I’m going to bed. Goodbye, Subject X.

And so ends the story of the date with Subject X. I’m not against internet dating (I met two ex partners on the internet) but I’ll probably avoid these kinds of dates in the future. That said, if you know someone who would get on well with me, knows how to punctuate (and who wouldn’t discuss starting a family on the first date) or you want to share your creepy dating story, I encourage you to do so below! Come on, laugh with us, it’s therapeutic!

Robyn

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nailsinc-noflash
Aug. 10.

Manicure Monday: Nails Inc Optic Collection – Optic Wave

mm-nailsinc-thToday’s Manicure Monday is brought to you courtesy of toothpaste. I was shopping in Boots, and noticed that you could get nail polish free with toothpaste. As the toothpaste is much cheaper than the nail polish, it was a good deal, so I picked it up, along with Optic Wave, from the Nails Inc Optic Collection, which was made exclusively for the toothpaste offer.

nailsinc-bottle

One of a small handful of colours available as part of the Optic Collection (The Colgate Facebook page has a picture of three, a pink, a red and this blue), Optic Wave was the one that jumped off the shelf at me, as it is a really striking rich blue. It isn’t shimmery or sparkly, like some of my other blues are, but is really creamy. I generally find Nails Inc to be fairly pleasant to work with, and this was no exception, applying nicely with two coats, looking opaque and even. It dried in a reasonable space of time, which is ideal as I was applying it not too long before bed.

And this is how it looks on my nails. As usual, presented without, and then with flash, for comparison purposes.

nailsinc-noflash

nailsinc-flash

I really like this colour. It is a little brighter, and doesn’t sparkle like my all time favourite blue (Sinful Colors Blue By You) but is one I can see myself wearing quite often when looking for something summery. What do you think?

Robyn

P.S. My research tells me that this is the second time this offer has been done, as it was also done last year. Last year was also a pink, red and blue, but the red and blue shades are different. Interestingly, they carry the same names through both years. Here’s images of 2014 (top) and 2015 (bottom) from Colgate’s Facebook page.

2014 optic

2015 optic

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