Tag Archives: Review

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.


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…



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!


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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.


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?


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)


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.


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.


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.


Note: Product was provided for review

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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.


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.



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!


*Product was provided for review

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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.


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.


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.



*Image credit: www.twinings.co.uk

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Apr. 21.

Tried Tuesday: Max Factor Masterpiece Glamour Extensions Mascara

tt-lashes-thThe search for a holy-grail mascara is never ending. I find different ones do best for different tasks, and my choice is influenced by how I want my lashes to look on any particular day. So, today I am looking at a mascara that offers three things – volume, length & darkness. It comes from Max Factor, and is their recently launched Masterpiece Glamour Extensions Mascara.

Instant Impact Wand

Instant Impact Wand

The wand included here is what Max Factor call their “instant Impact Wand” saying that it is counter intuitive to think that a bigger wand means more volume, and that a smaller, more slender wand allows for greater precision in use. It certainly lives up to its slender billing, as you can see. There is really very little to it. It’s in no way dense, and has quite few rubber bristles.

The formula the wand delivers contains many fantastical, wonderful bits and pieces to deliver on all the promises it makes, including “volumising prills” which form spherical wax particles, that act as spacers between lashes to make them appear fuller, and in tandem, each tube contains over 30,000 (I pity the person who has to count all these) carbon black fibres in each tube, which blend into the formula providing the lash extension effect and the intense darkness. Now that we have the marketing blurb telling us what it does (if it makes sense to anyone), let us see if it actually does it.

1 coat

1 coat


2 coats

It does! Well, mostly it does. I don’t think these are the most voluminous my lashes ever were, but it works out quite well, especially for daytime wear. For night, I think I would want it to offer some more volume, but it does deliver the length and darkness. For a day to day look, I love it. For a night time mascara, I guess the search continues.

Max Factor Masterpiece Glamour Extensions Mascara is €13.99 and is available now.


Note: Product was provided for review

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r white
Dec. 31.

Review of The Year 2014

Robyn RIt’s December 31st, there are less about 4 hours left in the year as I write this, and it means that I really should do my review of the year. I should go through each months, highlight my favourite posts, which posts got the most hits and so on, but well, I love all my posts, so I would be here until December 31st next year choosing. Instead, I’m going to do things a little differently…

I made one resolution at the end of last year, to blog more often, at least once a week, and I’m glad to say I’ve exceeded that, blogging 6 days a week as much as possible. I’m glad I did, because it brought me closer to my dear readers (without you the blog is just me waffling into cyber oblivion) and I’ve had some great opportunities to try new products and learn more about the beauty industry as a result. The main reason I’m glad I’ve blogged so much this year though, is that it has been a brilliant outlet and distraction. A distraction that was very much needed.

As many of you know from reading the Robyn Rants & Raves, I haven’t been well this year. Since my visit to the hospital near the end of 2013, I’ve been unwell. It hasn’t been pleasant. It’s interfered with my life for over a year now, and looks to stretch at least a little into 2015. It’s been a year of many hospital visits, countless procedures, and more waiting than is right for any person to have to put up with. I’ll just not mention the food. If there has been any year that could have beaten me, it is this year.

But it hasn’t. It has done one thing, that the endless optimist in me has to concede is the highlight of the year. It has had me prove to myself just how resilient and positive I can be. It has been difficult to remain so positive at times, I’ll admit. There have been times when I’ve just wished it could all be over, when there have been long waits, or things have not been going as they should, but I’d defy anyone to want to be unwell. But it is the end of the year and I am still here. I am still going and still looking forward to getting to the end of being unwell. It is said that it is only in dark times that you find out how strong you can be, and now that makes much more sense to me.

Now to 2015. What can be my resolution for next year? To be healthier? Sure that’s a given after this year. Something blogging related? Well, the main thing is to get back to regular blogging service, but after that I want to keep improving the blog and making it the best I can. That’s not a resolution though. If there is one resolution I can make, it should be to not lose the positivity I have found. Positivity is a tremendous thing, and it would be a shame to lose it.

And so, if you have read this, or indeed any post on Robyn Rants & Raves this year, you have been a part of my 2014, and I love you for being a part of it. And I wish you the very best for your 2015. Be positive, it will be a great year for you! Now stop reading this and go celebrate!


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Jul. 02.

Tried Tuesday: Eyeko Skinny Eyeliner Pens

eyeko-thYes, I know this is Wednesday, but as I ran out of camera batteries and had to wait to take pictures for this, it still counts as a Tuesday post. I’ll remember to charge batteries more often next time. For today’s post, I’m going to take a look at the gift with purchase from the July issue of Glamour Magazine, which is the Skinny Eyeliner pen from Eyeko.


There were two of these available with the magazine, a choice of black and navy. Naturally I chose both, but I’m weird that way. The idea is fairly simple, it’s a felt tip marker of eyeliner. The pens are thin, light and easy to wield, so you don’t need to worry about trying to use something heavy and awkward around your eye.


The felt tips go from super thin at the very end, and thicken up quite quickly, depending on how much pressure you use to get a thin or thick line, and they are really quite pigmented, giving a superb level of colour.

As for how they look? Here they are on my eyes. For this I just have liner and mascara on. The black is paired with the Rimmel Scandaleyes by Kate Mascara in Jet Black, while the navy is paired with the sapphire mascara from the same Rimmel range.



The black, while nice, I don’t think is quite nice enough. It may be that the pen, being a freebie product, had been sat and knocked about a bit, and wasn’t delivering a perfect line, or it may have been my technique. I do quite like the navy though. It is deep enough, and yet delivers enough of a colour pop to be used without much else, on days when you just want to keep things simple

Getting these has made me consider looking for another felt tip style liner, so I must ask, which ones do you recommend?

These Eyeko eyeliner pens are with the July issue of Glamour, which should be available for another couple of days at least.


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season to season bronzer closed
Jun. 10.

Tried Tuesday: Physician’s Formula Season to Season Bronzer

bronzer-thSummer is a season for lighter makeup wherever possible. I try to avoid heavy foundations and powders in favour of tinted moisturisers, BB creams and lately this bronzing powder from Physician’s Formula.

season to season bronzer closed

Physician’s Formula are famous for their bronzers, and I’m currently using their Season to Season bronzer from the Bronze Booster Range. This one comes in a substantial compact with 7.7g of product, a mirror and a brush.


The brush is an interesting shape, but there is a good reason for it. You can use it to dust the powder across your whole face, or use the longer part of the brush for more precision placement of product for contouring, which I think is a really clever idea. Normally I will use a normal powder brush from my brush collection to apply this, so I haven’t actually used the brush.

bronzer-productAs for the product itself. It’s made up of 5 different shades, four shades marked for each season, Winter, Spring, Summer & Fall. There is also a small dot of golden colour in the centre. These shades are all subtly shimmery, not full on, but noticeable in the right light. The fact that there are a mix of shades means you can tailor what shade of bronzer you want to use, ranging from the most light in Winter to the most dark in Summer, with Spring and Fall being two different in between shades. Personally I’m liking just swirling my brush through all of the shades, rather than picking out any particular one.


I’m actually really loving this at the moment. It gives such a wonderful glow to the skin without being over the top. It can be as subtle or as strong as I like. that said, while the product is amazing, I’m slightly concerned by the build quality of the compact. It is substantial, but I have noticed that as I’m using it there is a certain amount of movement between the pan and the compact, and I fear what will happen if the bond between the two gives way. I guess I’ll have to be careful with it and see what happens.

Physician’s Formula Season to Season Bronzer is €19.90, and will be available in pharmacies nationwide.


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May. 29.

Tested Thursday: Revlon Colorburst Lacquer Balm

colorburst-thI’m a firm believer in having a lipstick for every occasion, and then some for no occasion at all, except for you felt like wearing it. That’s why I have such a wide ranging collection. One I tend to have a few of on the go, though, is the Colorburst range from Revlon. This particular one is from their lacquer balm range, and is shade 150 – Enticing.


There are 10 shades in this particular range, running from browns to pinks, nudes, corals, berry and red. There really is a shade to suit everyone. The packaging is similar to the Clinique Chubby Sticks, or Revlon’s own Just Bitten Kissable balm stains. It’s very simple packaging. It’s a twisty crayon type product in a shiny tube, as are all the lacquer balms. The matte ones have a matte finish tube – great when rooting in a drawer for the right product.


The product itself is quite slippery, and feels very moisturising. This is due to what Revlon call their “Triple Butter Complex” of shea, coconut and mango butters. It feels light and nourishing when swatched on my hand. It doesn’t feel heavy or clogging and has really great pigmentation.


As for it on the lips? It really feels dreamy. It’s all cushony and velvety and is delightful to wear, with a sheen more so than a shine. I could really wear this kind of thing forever and be happy.


But, as it’s Tested Thursday, I can’t just leave it at that. I have to actually put the product through its paces and find out what it can do. Today I’m doing a wear test. Prior to writing this I had been out looking at products from Mary Kay and Lush. It meant getting dressed up and looking pretty for a few hours. Between going out and coming home, it was on for about 6 hours. And there was a lot of talking and hugs and trying to look good. And the good news is it held up remarkably well. It looked as good as when I first put it on. However, I had not been eating or drinking in that time, which I did when I got home.

This is where things took a disappointing turn. In between having a beer (it was cold, I was not) and eating the leftover Chinese food from everyone elses dinner, the lacquer balm kind of disappeared. By the time I was done, and I’m not (much) of a messy eater, there was nothing left. No stain, no patchy lipstick, nothing.

So, the results. The pigmentation, feel and colour are all amazing. Really difficult to beat. However, to get wear out of it, you need to be one of these strange people who can get through the day without eating or drinking. I’m certainly not one of these people, and for that reason I’ll be making sure that any time I wear this I have it close at hand for touch-ups in between meals.


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May. 27.

Tried Tuesday: Clarins Ombre Minerale Eyeshadow

clarins-thOne thing I have quite a selection of (asides from nail polish) is eyeshadow. I have a box full of various palettes, and a drawer full of trios, duos and singles. I love how creative you can be with it, but there are also times when I want to be able to just grab a single colour, put it on and get on with it. Today’s Tried Tuesday may just help with that, as I am looking at an eyeshadow from Clarins, their Ombre Minérale eyeshadow in 10 – Slate Blue.


The compact that the shadow comes in, seen here in all its shiny goldenness is very solid and feels like it is good quality, and while it feels solid, you do not need to struggle to open it, as while its catch is secure, it gives way easily to reveal the single shadow inside. The shiny case is prone to fingerprint smudges though, if that kind of thing annoys you.


In the compact, you find the shadow, a sponge applicator that is firm, but soft (I can’t say much about it as I don’t use them) and a mirror that is the full size of the lid, and is very handy for touch ups. The product is covered by a little plastic cover that lifts out with the applicator. I tend to leave them on when not being used to help catch loose product from ending up on the mirror, but that is personal preference.

clarins-swatchClarins say that the product can be used both wet and dry, so to see what difference it makes, here is a swatch. The long swatch is applied dry, while the blob was applied wet. Dry, it is a lot more sheer and more grey, while wet it is a more greyish blue.



And finally, as always, here it is in use. In this case it was applied dry, as I would use it during the day.

I’m really liking this little bit of gorgeousness. It is easy to apply, feels great, and while it is blue, the greyness in it makes it feel more sophisticated, grown up and not scary, which is a real plus for me.

Clarins Ombre Minérale eyeshadows cost €19.50 (checked on Debenhams.ie)


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