Monday, 12 September 2016

Book Swap with Aoife from Pretty Purple Polka Dots!

I don't often talk about books on the blog, mainly because I love chattering on too much and my posts would be longer than my thesis. I haven't quite worked out the way in which I want to talk about the books I read or the TV shows I watch -- I'll get there, but I'm not there yet.

That being said, several months ago I was having a great chat with Aoife from Pretty Purple Polka Dots, an Irish book blogger who has no shortage of suggestions should you be looking for something to read. While I can't remember what our chat was about, it led to her asking if I wanted to participate in a book swap with her! And why wouldn't I? It's great to connect with others in the blogging community, and sharing something you love with someone else who you just know will love it too... There's nothing like that.

So we grabbed each other's details, found out about each other's interests and began digging to locate a book that we knew the other one would love.

What did I get Aoife? Well, you'll just need to pop over to her blog and have a look. No spoilers from these lips!

Before you do that, however, let's get stuck into what arrived in my mailbox!

An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor || This book appears to be a prequel to other books by Patrick Taylor, about a woman named Kinky Kincaid (given Ireland, this is most probably not pronounced the way it's spelled), whose real name is Maureen O'Hanlon. It seems to be set in the earlier part of the twentieth-century, with supernatural elements that really intrigue me. It makes me wonder if it ties into Irish folklore -- and as someone who loves history, I'm excited to find out!

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín || I've definitely heard of the movie and the book on which it was based, and I recall there being a great deal of fuss being made, but as I tend to be very lazy when it comes to jumping on bandwagons (both literally and metaphorically), I never really looked into it. This one's about a girl named Eilis Lacey, who emigrates to North America to make a future for herself, only to have to return to Ireland later on. I'm not gonna lie, it's piqued my interest as well!

Aside from these titles (both of which sound really good), Aoife so very kindly sent me some other bits and pieces too! A bookmark featuring Irish writers -- always handy, as I tend to dog-ear my pages (sorry!); a block of Dairy Milk that has long since been demolished; a magnet with an Irish toast on it; a few candles, one of which I know to be a Yankee candle (hallelujah!) and all of which smell incredible; and a keyring.

But not just any keyring -- no, no, this keyring has my surname and my family crest!

Can someone please find me a gif to accurately describe my joy?

I didn't need to read my surname to know what it was when I saw it. While my particular strand of Barry DNA has Cornish origins instead of Irish, I've nevertheless always kind of unofficially adopted this crest as my own. I can't wait to attach it to all of my keys!

That just about sums up my absolutely awesome package from Aoife! Don't forget to check out her blog to see what I sent her -- I know I sure will be (partly because aside from the book I forgot what I sent her).

Have you read these books before? Did you watch the film Brooklyn when it came out? Let me know!

Monday, 5 September 2016

Japan Haul Pt 1 | Makeup Goodies Everywhere!

If you're a makeup addict -- hell, I don't even think you need to be an addict -- then arguably one of the greatest priorities you'll have when going overseas is getting your paws on the goods that you just can't find at home. Whether it's different products from familiar brands or new items from new names, it's so easy to get excited and just want one of everything.

This happened to me.

In the name of Daenerys Targaryen, First of Her Name, this happened to me.

Look at this stuff. Isn't it neat? Wouldn't you think my collection's complete?
Don't get me wrong, it could've been a lot worse. There was a point towards the end of my trip where I was going to splash a whole lotta extra cash on brands I knew I hadn't seen before -- but instead I ended up deciding to go meet a friend for dinner.

A friend who ended up being an hour late.

Please, a moment of silence for the makeup not bought.

You want things of above? I've got twenty!
Still, I shouldn't really complain, right? I did end up creating a relatively decent haul whilst overseas, so let's take a look at the beauties!

But who cares? No big deal.
I want mooooore.

Rimmel London x Daichi Miura Chocolat Sweet Eyes Eyeshadow Palette - "#002 Almond Chocolat" and "#009 Rose Chocolat" || Look at these adorable little eyeshadow palettes! Look at them! I'd say that they're meant to be the Japanese drugstore answer to the chocolate bar craze that began a couple of years back courtesy of Too Faced. I believe that these are available in the regular packaging as well, but these two in particular were created in collaboration with Daichi Miura. Who is that? No idea. I know that these two palettes look very, very similar, but they are different -- trust me!

I had wanted to get the rest of the palettes in this range, but I bought these relatively early into my trip; by the time I went to a store and saw them again, they only had the original packaging, and I couldn't remember which ones I'd bought. I know, what a rookie error.

Rimmel London x Daichi Miura Marshmallow Look Lipstick - "#012 Very Red" || I had originally written this shade as "Berry Red" until I took swatch photos and remembered that 1) there was nothing remotely berry about the shade; and 2) 'very' could be written the same way as 'berry'. So here we are! This is a very clean, bright red, and I'm sure that I definitely do have shades just like it -- what I have never seen before is that heaven-sent packaging! Can you see it? It's similar to the eyeshadow palettes in terms of the drawings, but it has three girls whose outfits you can mix and match depending on the way you click the lid on!

No that's not drool at the corner of my mouth. Don't know what you're talking about.

Rimmel London x Daichi Miura Marshmallow Look Lipstick - "#015 Melty Red" || I didn't know why this was called Melty Red, as in the tube it looks more like a deep, kinda rusty brown. I can see the red tones when I engage it in a staring match (it always wins), but I'm interested in seeing how it translates on the lips. Will it look kinda 90s? Who knows!

Rimmel London Marshmallow Look Lipstick - "#21 Deep Plum" || I haven't mentioned this yet, but the whole idea behind the "Marshmallow Look" line is the idea of matte lip colour that gives your lips a soft, pillowy look -- it sounds pretty nice, right? Off the top of my head, this shade seems kinda comparable to MAC Rebel, but my eyes aren't known for being reliable so time (and side-by-side swatches) will tell.

Rimmel London Marshmallow Look Lipstick - "#23 Raspberry Rose" || This shade ended up swatching lighter than I thought it might, but I think I'm going to love wearing it! It's the kind of soft pink that I rarely get sick off, and I think it'll look as great during the winter as it will in summer. I think this may suit those with very fair skin as well, but I can't be 100% sure -- thanks to the Japanese sun, I returned to Australia looking a bit like a slow-roasted chicken, so my skin isn't as pale as it normally would be at this time of year.

Rimmel London Lasting Finish Creamy Lip - "#009 Vivid Pink" || How beautiful is this pink? It's a shade that I personally love to rock in the wintertime -- whoever said you should stick to nudes? -- and the bullet shape makes me wonder if this is Japan's rendition of The Only One lipstick. An awesome feature? There's a little mirror on the top of the cap! (Screeches everywhere.)

Rimmel London Lasting Finish Creamy Lip - "#014 Mauve Red" || When I first opened the cap upon coming home, I first thought that this looked almost worryingly similar to the Marshmallow Look "Melty Red" shade, but it really does swatch more rosey-red. I think it's a very pretty colour, and a good red for those who don't like something so in-your-face.

Left: Swatches of the Marshmallow Look lipsticks; Right: Swatches of the Lasting Finish Creamy Lip lipsticks.

L'Oréal Paris -- if it has a name, it has a place in my purse.
L'Oréal Paris Collection Star by Barbara - "Barbara's Pink / Rose" || Everyone who knows me knows that I'm a sucker for a product with a name attached to it, and when I found out that Japan had its own version of the Collection Exclusive... I practically needed a mop to wipe my drool! This is a sheer, milky pink with a very subtle microglitter that's hard to pick up on camera. Typically this type of pink isn't my style, but I think that's it's sheer enough for me to pull it off.

L'Oréal Paris Collection Star by Blake - "Blake's Pink / Lily" || This I definitely love! It's a beautiful blush-pink that doesn't get all in your face. It didn't have any glitter that I could see when swatching.

L'Oréal Paris Color Riche Extraordinaire - "#500 Molto Mauve" || This was an interesting purchase. I saw a stand at the store that had a dozen different shades that came with a Swarovski-element crystal bracelet, with each shade corresponding with a different month of the year. If I had all the money in the world, I'd definitely have bought one for each month (like a magpie, I love shiny things) but at the time I felt it was overkill, even for me, so I only bought the one for my birth month: June! June's gemstone is opal (I think -- sometimes I see moonstone, but I can't remember what the stand itself said), and the bracelet is meant to reflect that.

The lip colour itself is a beautiful shade that I might not have looked at too closely had it not been for the bracelet. It's a gorgeous reddish-mauve with flecks of gold microglitter -- I can honestly say that I don't have a shade like it in my collection!

Swatches: no regrets.
Sleek in name, sleek in nature.
Excel Sleek Glow Lip - "#GP05 Sakura Pink" || This slender little tube has a somewhat luxurious feel to its packaging and offers sheer colour for your lips. I only picked up two shades because most of them had names that were kind of a little scary -- names that contained the word "beige". Unless it's in a foundation, I run from the name "beige". This shade in particular is a sweet watermelon pink, and the product itself is so soft that they say you don't need to twist it higher than a couple of millimetres.

Excel Sleek Glow Lip - "#GP06 Pink Mirage" || There's a little more raspberry in this shade than to Sakura Pink, although when I first started swatching I was concerned that they were more identical than I'd thought. Just like Sakura Pink, Pink Mirage offers a very pretty, natural-looking blushing pink to your lips.

For all your sheer lip colour needs.

Don't be jelly, Linda.
Canmake Tokyo Your Lip Only Gloss - "#03 Clear and Vivid" || I'm wondering if perhaps the name of this line is the product of some typo that didn't get picked upon before it went into production. Who knows? I noticed straight out that the applicator was a pinky-purple, the kind of colour you get when you apply a clear gloss over a coloured lipstick directly with the applicator and thus never have clear gloss again. When I swatched it, it seemed to be nothing more than a clear gloss with a colourful applicator -- and I was wrong! You can see that it has a very light pink tint to it -- so, not exactly clear, but perhaps tinted just enough to enhance your natural lip colour.

Only testing will tell!

Canmake Tokyo Jelly Stick Gloss - "#05 Dark Raspberry" || At time of writing, this is the only product that I've tried, and I really like it! Like with the Excel products, you only need to twist it up the very slightest bit because of how soft the product is -- and my, oh my, is it soft! Imagine slathering butter onto your lips, but without the greasy feeling. That's what wearing this product is like.

I could probably swatch this forever.
Why buy regular edition packaging when you can get the cute limited edition one instead?
Maybelline Fashionista Mascara || I haven't seen this mascara at all in the western world, although I'm guessing from the general shape of the packaging that it might be Japan's version of the Illegal Length mascara. This particular one is either special or limited edition packaging -- I'm not 100% sure which -- in a collaboration with Little Twin Star; there was also a blue one for the waterproof formula.

Opera Sheer Lip Color - "#104 Pure Coral" || So here's the thing about this line: there some to be two sub-lines, the "basic type" and what seems to translate to me as the "good colour type". This particular shade belongs to the latter, and leads me to think that "good colour type" refers to more pigment. This really is a stronger peachy coral than I'm used to wearing -- honestly, I'm not used to coral at all -- but I've never been one to shy away from a challenge!

Opera Sheer Lip Color - "#01 Pure Red" || Clearly more sheer than Pure Coral, this really is meant to give nothing more than a sheer red tint to your lips. It'll be great for work, because I've shied away quite a bit from wearing lipsticks lately.

Not what I expected, for whatever reason, but who doesn't like a challenge?

Disney Lip Gloss - "Rapunzel" || This gloss is a sheer sparkly pink that doesn't really build up a whole lot of colour, no matter what the inside of the tube looks like. I think the entire line is pretty good for younger girls who are developing more of an interest in makeup -- but make no mistake, this shiz is for me -- and this shade in particular would be a good place to start.

Disney Lip Gloss - "Ariel" || This one is somewhat sparkly too, but a slightly more pigmented coral. It's not a bad idea for those who might want to try a more natural lip colour but are somewhat intimidated by the idea of a nude.

Disney Lip Gloss - "Minnie" || This watermelon pink has no glitter at all, and while not overly pigmented, it's still a stronger pink than Rapunzel. It's another safe shade for younger girls or those who want something natural and don't mind carrying around a something that demonstrates a blatant love for Disney.

The fairest of them all.

Daiso Japan Hello Kitty Oil Blotting Paper || Of course I went to Daiso in Japan! How could I not? There were all kinds of blotting paper available, from those that were plain and to the point, to those that looked they belonged in a more upmarket store. As someone who does find Hello Kitty quite cute, this was a must!

Daiso Japan Mickey Mouse Oil Blotting Paper || If there's one character that Japan loves, it's Mickey Mouse. He and Minnie seem to be everywhere you go, and while I wouldn't call myself a die-hard fan, this is cute yet discreet enough that it's right up my alley.

That's it for part one of all of the goodies I purchased from Japan! Stay tuned because part two will be posted very, very soon -- and if you like stationery, Pokémon and/or Disney jewellery, you're going to find this one a real treat.

But for now: what did you think of the makeup? Did anything I buy grab your eye? Have you yourself bought makeup in Japan? Let me know! Let's get chatting!

Thursday, 1 September 2016

The Actual Diary Bit, Vol 2 | 22nd Aug to 28th Aug

Gorgeous fellow humans, how have you been these past few weeks? It's been so quiet in this pocket of the internet, but after finishing my thesis what I needed more than anything else was a break from the computer! I was also in Japan for three weeks, and I can't remember the last time I've had so much fun. I spent about a week on my own, then I joined up with a tour, and then I had a few more days on my own again. I might write up posts on some of the places that I visited, but if I do then they may be slow-coming. There's just so much to get done!

No, thank you, Japan.
And what have I been up to since I got back? Read on and find out!

Monday, 22nd August || Today I landed back home from Japan! I arrived at about 11.30am, but I didn't end up getting home until about 3.30pm because I had lunch with Mum. I actually wasn't feeling too well for most of the day -- I don't know if it was travel sickness, or maybe just that I hadn't eaten properly. I've never been travel sick on a plane before, so... Who knows. I also got to give my family members their presents, which was pretty fun.

Tuesday, 23rd August || LAUNDRY DAY! You wouldn't think that doing laundry would be something to get excited about, but when you haven't really had properly clean clothes for three weeks and you're out of underwear... It's pretty darn exciting. Finally, I have clean clothes!! I took a couple of naps today as well. I don't really understand it, it's not like I'm jetlagged.

The last night of the tour! Things got CRAY! (Not really.)
Wednesday, 24th August || Again, didn't do a whole lot. I rang up my best friend and we chatted for a while -- it was so good to hear her voice! It's been kinda strange, going from a situation where I had people constantly talking to me to having almost nobody at all. That in itself sounds a little strange, because it's not like I live alone, but... I don't know how to describe it.

Thursday, 25th August || I think that the worst part about unpacking is trying to put away the final bits and pieces that kind of don't really have a place. I had a nice, sizeable lump of stuff on my floor and no desire to find a place to put it. I spent most of the day photographing the makeup and the stationary that I'd bought in Japan -- the question is, however, will it make it to the blog? I'd hope so but gosh know with my organisation at the moment. Also tonight was my first night back at work! It was good to kind of get stuck back into it.

Snap back to reality.
Friday, 26th August || Went out for lunch with Mum and my brother today. I was feeling like something light, like a salad -- so that's what I got. A delicious, delicious Caesar salad. I mean, it really wasn't the best one I've eaten in a while, but it did the trick. I also remembered to register for my graduation -- so freaking expensive, but hey, I can officially say goodbye to university in September instead of December!

Saturday, 27th August || Appointment with the witch doctor (aka osteo) today! Things are looking pretty decent. This time last year, I was going weekly (really not a good thing), but now we've pushed appointments back to every six weeks. The witch doctor said that the heat in Japan has done me a lot of lasting good, so I'm pretty pleased with that.

I love seeing these flowers bloom -- so happy I came back home in time to see it!
Sunday, 28th August || Wasn't exactly looking forward to getting back to my long Sundays at work -- I've been so tired this week that I felt there was no guarantee I'd get up in time! As it happened, I did, which was great, but the day itself could've been better. It was so quiet that at times I was almost bored to absolute tears; sometimes it's nice when it's quiet, but the time was dragging! In the end, I only ended up working a half day, because it was so quiet and we had so many staff members that my boss told me to finish early.

Tell me: what have you been up to in the last week or so? I want to hear all about your own adventures!