Best beauty bargains for under six euro!

If you’re like me you will have a wide range of cosmetics that vary in quality and price. Although I do like to splash out every now and then, there are a few beauty essentials that I have found to be pretty damn decent at a fraction of the price. All of these low cost products I have tried and tested and the best part is….anyone can afford them! Hooray!

Lidl Cien volume mascara €2.49

lidl cien mascara

Yes Lidl do makeup and some of their products are actually quite decent. If you’re looking for a low cost mascara that actually works, look no further than Cien Volume Mascara. I found just two coats worked when it came to giving my lashes more length and making them look fuller. Available from all Lidl stores it comes in a waterproof version also.

SEVENTEEN Gel colour nail polish €5.49

seventeen gel colour

My god, this stuff is good. As someone who is nail obsessed, a friend recommended it to me after I admired what I mistook for shellac! Available in 30 different shades, the colour is easy to apply and it comes out vibrant and glossy. Two of my favourite shades are Pink Flamingo and White Lady. It also lasts pretty well, I usually get 3-4 days out of it before chippage occurs. Available in most Boots stores.

Catrice light reflecting concealer pen €3.99

catrice light reflecting concealor pen

Touche Eclat lovers will delight in this bargain find! Not only does this help give you a healthy glow and illuminate around the eye area but the brush can be used to help shape eyebrows. You can pick up this nifty number in most Penneys and Boots stores.

Collection eyebrow kit €5.49

Collection-Work-The-Colour-Eyebrow-Kit-917657One for brow fans I love this little kit as it consists of three shadows, an angle brush, eyebrow gel and a mini tweezers. It’s nice and compact and comes in two shades blonde and brunette. I’d nearly buy this kit for the brush alone. Get it in Boots.

Penneys P.S Pro foundation brush €2.50penneys_8112115948307463

It’s no Crown brush but for just €1.50 this foundation applicator does the job. With a sleek, easy to grip body, this brush makes applying foundation flawlessly easy. You can get two versions of this handy brush one with a concealer brush at one end and another with a sponge. Can’t decide what to go for? Why not just buy them both seeing as they’re so affordable!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three of the best stay on lippies

I don’t know about you but I cannot deal with lipstick that transfers onto glasses or lipstick that  fades in colour early in the night. Read on for my recommendations on smudge proof, kiss proof lipstick (all tried and tested of course!)

1.Maybelline 24 hour Superstay lipstick €13.49 (price may vary depending on store)

Consisting of both a matte base and balm, Maybelline 24 hour superstay is the perfect choice for a night out. It comes in 12 different colours all of which remain vibrant for at least ten hours. Available in most pharmacies and supermarkets. Keep an eye out for it in Boots as it often falls under their 3 for 2 offer.

maybelline 24hour

2. KIKO instant colour matte liquid lip colour €7.95

Made in Italy, I can’t rave about KIKO cosmetics enough. Similar to MAC in terms of quality and packaging you can buy it online at a fraction of the cost. KIKO’s instant colour matte liquid lip colour consists of a powerful cream matte shade. It comes in 15 different tones and can be purchased by clicking here

kiko doubletouch

3. Rimmel provocalips lip colour €8.99

Another stay on lippy I’m fond of, provocalips is very similar to Maybelline 24 hour superstay in that it consists of a matte shade at one end and an overcoat on the other. It comes in 11 different shades and I am a huge fan of the red ones which are super vibrant once on. Again look out for it in 3 for 2 offers in Boots. Happy kissing!

rimmel provocalips

The Radisson Blu Galway

By Rebecca Lee

As a person who loves to escape the madness of everyday life and rarely indulges in ‘me time’ I decided to embark on a luxury two night spa break to the City of Tribes. I chose to indulge in a considerably tranquil two night stay at the Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa in Galway. The luxurious 4 star facility which overlooks the cool, calm waters of Lough Atalia is situated a handy three minutes away from the heart of the charismatic, Claddagh famous, cobblestoned city.

Radisson GalwayThe Radisson Blu, Galway

Wanting a second perspective on just what the Radisson Blu had to offer spa fanatics, I brought my younger sister Ruth along to sample the wide selection of relaxation facilities. The Galway Radisson Blu was established in 2001. It features 272 guestrooms from standard to executive to penthouse suites. Longing for that added bit of luxury, we chose to stay in a very spacious executive suite which provided us with plush beds, a lengthy private balcony and some picture perfect lakeside views.

Having visited many spas, I must confess I was suitably impressed by the size and range of facilities available at the Radisson. On one of our two days we decided to ‘pan out’ for half a day in the hotel’s Spirit One Spa thermal suite. Although access comes at an additional cost, the variety of saunas, steam rooms, herbal teas and heavenly coffees meant our visit was worth every cent. The spa features many different relaxation rooms such as a lanconium, aroma grotto, rock sauna and heated relaxation loungers among others. There is also a heavenly hot tub, jacuzzi and swimming pool for those who want to go all out. Another facility worth mentioning is the Salt Spa which resembling an older person’s Santa’s grotto, enables guests to inhale salt which helps asthma, allergies and hayfever among others.

When it comes to treatments, a wide range of standard and not so standard services are offered. With blatant black bags under my eyes and noticeably exhausted skin, I opted to try the spa’s newest creation, the Elemis Biotec facial. Along with providing the benefits of a standard facial, the treatment includes technology such as micro current lifts, peels and LED light therapy which ensured I achieved a flawless, moisturised glow while switching off from the outside world.

Of course no spa break would be complete without indulging in some fine food and wine. The Radisson Blu has a number of eateries on offer from the Atrium Bar and Lounge to the Restaurant Marinas to RAW Sushi in the sky (which is apparently so good the locals frequent it). We opted to wine and dine ourselves in Restaurant Marinas which offered a wide selection of mouth watering dishes and provided us with the tastiest toffee pudding (I’m licking my lips just thinking about it!)

Overall The Radisson Blu made for an extremely enjoyable, relaxing spa break. My only negatives would be that the spa and pool areas are extremely busy on Friday and Saturday so I would recommend you stay Saturday and Sunday or even midweek instead. Also there is no private pool in the thermal suite area so you have to get a lift to the hotel pool which isn’t a major problem. Otherwise our break away at Blu made for a fabulous treat that left us totally relaxed from head to toe.

Lough AtaliaAdmiring the view from The Radisson Blu

The Radisson Blu are running ‘Me Day’ packages which include use of the thermal suite, one treatment and afternoon tea from 105 per person. Overnight stays for two people including breakfast start at 149 per person. For more information see www.radissonblu.com or call 091538423.

As featured in The Sunday World

Cruising the Shannon

By Rebecca Lee

As a boat obsessed person who fancied a holiday at home with a difference, I decided to take the plunge and booked a girly getaway, a River Shannon cruise. After hearing from a friend about just how easy it is to hire and steer your own private cruiser along Ireland’s longest most beautiful river, we packed our bags, stuck on our sailor hats and excitedly headed to Banagher marina, West Offaly in search of both adventure and a spot of relaxation.

As cruise virgins my friends Ciara, Lucinda and I decided to book our trip through the very experienced people at Carrickcraft. We took comfort in the fact that the cruise hire company have been supplying boats of all shapes and sizes to holidaymakers for the past 35 years. Unsure as to how three girls would fare at cruising a 34 foot ship, I booked four nights on Carrickcraft’s Kilkenny Class cruiser. Our stunning boat consisted of two bedrooms, two ensuites, a living room with a convertible bed, a well equipped kitchen and most importantly for three women, a sundeck!

Rebecca boatCaptain Bex on the decks!

Our decision to set sail wasn’t made lightly as we had a number of factors working against us. First of all due to friends cancelling we only had three people to steer a six person boat, none of us had operated a cruiser before and last but not least my two friends can’t swim! Still we castaway our concerns, running through our planned route with a Carrickcraft rep, watching a safety video that would shiver any amateurs timbers and embarking on a quick ‘testdrive’ before raising any anchors. I was pleased to find that steering the boat and following our navigation guide which we were given was relatively easy, even if we did do a few accidental 360 turns and cause a few killer waves for passers-by.

Wanting to stay near base on our first night in case there were any problems, our first port of call was the very beautiful Clonmacnoise. As you can’t cruise once darkness falls we mistakenly moored here overnight which meant we were faced with lots of fields and plenty of cows. Safe to say we had our own private party similar to the one featured in THAT caravan episode of Father Ted. It is certainly worth visiting the monastic site there during the day if on a cruiser, just don’t ever moor there at night.

Due to my posse being on average of 30 years of age we wanted to have it all- nice restaurants, things to do and see and good bars and nightclubs. Therefore at first light, we cruised from Clonmacnoise to Athlone Marina the following day which was a further two hours away. I was delighted to find I took to the role of Captain like a duck to water on the second day and myself and the girls looked like true pros, waving at each cruiser that sailed by. Athlone Marina was impressively large with plenty of spots to moor our boat, the only scary part was trying to fit it into jetty spaces without colliding with others or experiencing man overboard (which luckily we didn’t have to!)

Boat the shannonMyself and my friend Lucinda on deck

We were relieved to find that apart from just having electricity ports for the crucial hair straightener (low voltage means most won’t work on board) Athlone has plenty to offer for people of all ages. We went shopping, had a spot of dinner and partied in the newly refurbished Karma Nightclub (www.karma.ie) which we were delighted to discover was an absolute hive of activity with stags and hen parties. Safe to say we were in cruise ship heaven.

Rough river heads on us the next day and sun beaming, on our third day we cruised to Hodson Bay for a spot of people watching and lunch in the famous Hodson Bay Hotel. In addition to being easy to moor in, it proved a great spot for sunbathing and there were plenty of water activities available for people of all ages.

Following our pit stop at Hodson Bay, we sailed back to Athlone for another funfilled night in the town’s pubs and clubs.

With checkout being 10am on a Saturday, we chose to cruise back to Bannagher for our one last hurrah. Banagher marina was fairly idyllic and the streets although quaint were dotted with a handful of cruiser friendly pubs, JJ Hough’s was particularly pleasant as traditional live music poured out the doors and onto the street.

Overall our River Shannon cruise truly was a breakaway that the girls and I will never forget. As three young girls who were amateur sailors we managed to conquer cruising and were welcomed with rounds of applause at most ports of call. Between the beautiful scenery, sunshine, nature and the feeling of being free and adventurous, a cruise along the Shannon is something everyone must do at least once in their lives, if not to work like a captain but to play like a pirate.

Getting there:

For more information see www.carrickcraft.com or www.cruise-ireland.com. Prices start from €299 for a 2 berth boat for three nights.

As featured in The Sunday World