Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nail Polish Haul

I recently went home for a week in March and one of the things I couldn’t wait to do was raid the Catrice, Essence and Wet n Wild stands! I hate the fact that they aren’t available here in the UK (well, Essence has a very limited about of stands in the UK). Some of these were actually sent to me very kindly from Sharon at Behind Green Eyes, so thank you very much for sending them!

Catrice

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Left to right: Crushed Crystals in Call Me Princess, Crushed Cystals in Oysters & Champagne, Berry Potter and Plumbledore, Karl Says Tres Chic and Glitterazzi

Sharon sent me the first 3 polishes, she has swatch post with Call Me Princess which you can see here. The Crushed Crystals are beautiful, Oysters & Champagne is beautiful, a very subtle rose pink shade. Berry Potter and Plumbledore is a purple with green duochrome. I saw a swatch of Karl Says Tres Chic online and I knew I had to buy it, it’s a beautiful creme pink, I reminds me of China Glaze Dress Me Up, which was part of the Capitol Colors for The Hunger Games. Lastly Glitterazzi is sparkly top coat. It reminds me of another Capitol Color polish, Luxe and Lush.

Essence

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Left to right: Metal Sugar in Skyfall, Jeans Sugar in Blue-Jeaned, Glitter Jewels in Party Crasher, Special Effect! Topper in Black Dress and White Tie, Special Effect! Topper in The Bees and The Birds, Be Berry Now!

Again, the first 3  polishes were sent by Sharon. These are supposed to be 3D effect, my favourite is definitely the purple glitter. I was delighted that my tiny Penneys had 2 of the Special Effect! Toppers in the stand. Usually I have to go to Galway to get them (and I love the Special Effect! Toppers, I have two posts on them. One here and here). I would have been even more thrilled if the other new ones were there but I’ll try get my hands on them! The first one is similar to all the other dotty top coats that were popular last year (Maybelline, L’Oreal and 17 are 3 that come to mind that had them), except these also have glitter with it as well. The Bees and the Birds are similar to the feather topcoats that Nails Inc and Barry M did last year. Finally, I wasn’t going to get Be Berry Now! but it is my favourite shade (I love raspberry colours) and just had to have it. I’m glad I bought it as it’s beautiful!

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Left to right: Club Havana, Crackle Glaze in Crushed Candy, Cloud 9 and Wedge of Lime

I only picked up one Wet n Wild as I was worried about my liquid allowance! I got this colour as I love coral shades and it looked similar to another polish I saw online (I can’t remember which now! Think it was a Sally Hansen one). The last three polishes I didn’t buy in Ireland, I bought the week before in London. I got them in Poundland (Dealz for Irish readers!). While I’m not a huge fan of crackle polishes, this reminded me of a crackle version of For Audrey so I had to pick it up. I’m a sucker for orange polishes and I love the subtle shimmer in this. As for the Rimmel one, well it was Paddy’s Weekend and I obviously thought I needed to add to my collection of green polishes!

15 polishes in all! And I do have my eyes on the Rita Ora Rimmel collection too! But so far I’ve resisted. Big thank you again to Sharon! Go check out her blog if you haven’t before, it’s Behind Green Eyes. Do you have any of these? Lusting after any of these? Recommendations for Wet n Wild so I can raid next time I’m back in Ireland?! Or want to see any swatches? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Baking with Pinterest UK at Loaf, Birmingham

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A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of opening up my email and seeing I had received one from Pinterest UK! It was an invitation to join them in a bread making event with Loaf in Birmingham. I was so excited to receive this invitation that I replied saying ‘Of course!’. The aim was to learn how to make sourdough bread, a course that Loaf offers as a weekend course but was condensed to a few hours for us. This meant that some of the work was done by Loaf or the morning Pinterest event for us in the afternoon, in order to get it all done on time. We started with the rye sourdough, which we made and then topped with seeds and let them rise in their tins for a few hours. Here was my end result.

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While we waited for the rye sourdough to rise, we were shown some techniques by Tom and Andy, bakers at Loaf. We were shown 2 ways to knead bread and got to practice them by making a wheat sourdough. Tom then showed us how to shape that dough into different bread shapes, from a simple dinner roll to a baguette. We then got to make a pita bread (very simple and cooks in only a few minutes!) and got to eat our pita with hummus and fresh salad. We also got to make delicious pizzas using the dough too. We had quite the feast!

 

 

Lastly, we had a friendly competition to make a fougasse. We were allowed to pick from a number of herbs and spices to make our own combination. I went with poppy seeds, sesame seeds and cumin. You cut the bread into pretty patterns, add the flavourings and bake. I came second in the competition, I was very proud at how well mine looked! I even managed, somehow, to keep it in tact until I got home so I could show my boyfriend. You have no idea how hard that was as it looked so so good!

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At the end of the day, we got to go home with our rye sourdough and some sourdough starter too. I haven’t had the chance to use them yet (as I have barely been at home these past few weeks!) but I think I might bust them out this weekend and make something nice!

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Not sure if I’ll be able to get them as nice as these loaves though!

Thank you to Pinterest UK for inviting me and for all at Loaf for their expertise and patience. I had a wonderful time.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

March Recap

I enjoyed February’s Recap so I’ve decided to do it again for March.

Doing- Travelling. Or so it felt! I spent time in Birmingham with with Pinterest UK baking bread (post up soon promise!). I then went to London to spend my first St. Patrick’s Day abroad and finally I went home to Ireland for almost 2 weeks, where I was on the go non-stop meeting friends (and buying nail varnish)!

Crafting- I’ve been knitting mainly! I joined a local knitting club, full of lovely people. I’ve been 3 times now and I’m really enjoying getting back into knitting. I hope to progress past my current skill level, I’m going to spend a bit of time getting used to knitting and polishing up my skills and then I’ll try challenge myself more.

Reading- Irish authors. I spoke about it in my last blog post, my March Reads catch up. I really enjoyed doing it and I discovered LOADS of Irish authors I had never heard about before. Or did even know was Irish! (I’m looking at you John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. And I’ve even read that!). I complied a list all the authors HERE, if you have any others to add let me know in the comments below.

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Playing- Not an app or video game this time round but Cards Against Humanity! Spent hours playing this with friends back home. It’s a hard game to describe (at least I find it hard) so check out the website. If you’re familiar with Apples to Apples then you’ll know how to play Cards Against Humanity, it’s like A2A but a lot less PC! Seriously, to play this game you have to not be offended by anything, nothing is off limits. But it does result in some hilarious results. You can buy the game or download for free on the website!

Listening- I’ve started listening to the new podcast from the QI Elves called No Such Thing As A Fish (that’s explained at the beginning of the podcast and was featured in an episode of QI). The Elves discuss interesting things they’ve discovered this week. There’s been 5 episodes so far (just discovered one was uploaded a few hours ago, delighted!) and you can listen/download by clicking this link.

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Loving- No Makeup Selfies. Look, I’ll be the first to admit I hated it at first, as I thought it was pointless and attention seeking. But then people started to donate and so much money was raised, I was gobsmacked at how quickly it piled up (I will point out though that I don’t like the peer pressure that went along with this though, when people didn’t want to post pictures. The picture wasn’t the most important thing after all!). While I posted my picture up, I didn’t donate money as I had no credit on either phones to do so. Instead, I donated my time by volunteering for 3 hours on Daffodil Day. It was my second year doing so and I loved it.

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And that’s about it! How was March for you?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March Reads

I haven’t posted a lot recently but that’s because I’ve been so busy travelling here and there! Hopefully I’ll have a post up tomorrow with March Recap so you can read all about what I’ve been up to if you’re interested.

This month, I kept my reading to a strict theme. Following reading In the Woods by Tana French at the end of February, I decided to only read books by Irish authors I’d never read before. I didn’t get a whole lot finished, well compared to other months anyway, but I still enjoyed it.

March Reads

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

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I got this out of the library as an audiobook. It follows the story of Eilis Lacey, who lives in a small town in Wexford in 1950s, who is given the opportunity to move to Brooklyn after an Irish priest living there sponsors her move. It’s a story of her move and how she struggles at first to fit in, living in a house with other women, working in a department story and finding love with Italian Tony. All seems to be going well for Eilis until she gets a call from Ireland. The story is not fast paced or action packed, if you’re looking for something like that, you’re looking in the wrong place. It’s more of a slow paced coming of age sort of story, a story of an Irish emigrant which is partly what intrigued me when I picked out this book, having recently moved abroad myself. I liked the audio narrative, the accents which were done along with the characters. While I won’t go into it now, I wasn’t very keen on the ending. But it was still a solid book and I look forward to trying out more of Tóibín’s novels.

 

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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I hadn’t read anything by Wilde prior to this, except the quotes you often come across by him. The Picture of Dorian Gray is the first and only novel by Wilde to be published. Dorian is a very attractive, innocent young man, who is fawned and loved by Basil Hallward and Lord Henry Wotton. Basil is so struck by Dorian’s beauty that he paints a portrait of him. While doing so, Lord Henry has begun to manipulate and mould Dorian’s innocent mind and Dorian eventually wishes that he could stay looking young and beautiful while the portrait would age instead. As they say, be careful what you wish for as it could come true! Over time, with Lord Henry like a devil on his shoulder, Dorian becomes more corrupt, leading a double life of crime and cruelty, all the mean time remaining beautiful and unblemished. The portrait however becomes more and more hideous, as Dorian’s sins are displayed as ugly blotches upon it. I really enjoyed this book, Wilde has a beautiful style of writing. There was a section near the middle of the book that I thought waffled on a bit and was pointless but other than that I do recommend this book, I loved it!

 

Room by Emma Donoghue

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I’d heard of this book ages ago and it was on my list for a while, so this month was the perfect excuse for me to finally pick it up. It’s told from the perspective of Jack, a 5 year old, who’s entire world is Room and all the contents in it, including Ma, his mother. Straight away as adults reading this, we realize this is a lot more sinister, with the mother and son being kept captive in Room by the mysterious Old Nick, who comes every night and brings food and takes away the rubbish. The idea of the book is very unique and I did find it gripping. Telling the story from a 5 year old’s point of view is a refreshing way to tell it, but at times it irrigated me. I found that some of the words and phrases were a bit too old for Jack, I couldn’t believe he was saying them when the sentence before was so childish. None the less, I wouldn’t let that put you off reading the book. I know Ariel Bissett listened to the audio book and recommended it, as it’s read by a young boy, which I imagine would add to the storytelling of the book.

 

Some Girls Do by Clodagh Murphy

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When I was looking up Irish authors to read for this month, I used Google and Goodreads and came up with a long list, which you can find by clicking HERE. I’d never heard of Clodagh Murphy before but when browsing the library after writing the list, I saw this book on the shelf and decided to give it a go. Claire is quiet, works in a bookshop and lives with her mother in Dublin. She longs to be an author. Her alter ego NiceGirl writes a blog called ‘Scenes of a Sexual Nature’, a steamy tell all of her raunchy sex life. Except it’s all made up. NiceGirl enjoys flirting on Twitter with publisher Mark Bell, who one day contacts her offering a book deal and wants to meet up. Claire is delighted until she realises that Mark will be looking to meet NiceGirl. Claire decides she needs to sex up her life and hires down and out artist Luca to help her become a sex goddess. This isn’t something I’d usually read, it’s chick lit (no harm in that!) but I did enjoy it. It is very descriptive with it’s sex scenes, so if you’re not into reading things like that, this book isn’t for you. Putting the sex scenes aside, I thought it was a cute story and I will pick up more of Murphy’s books in the future when I’m looking for something light and fun to read.

 

Skippy Dies by Paul Murray

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The book starts off with what happens in the title of the book, 14 year old Daniel ‘Skippy’ Juster dies in a doughnut shop in Dublin. The book then goes back a month or so to see how this came to be. Set in a boarding school in Dublin, the chapters are told from the view point of several different characters, mainly Skippy, his roommate Ruprecht Van Doren, Lori, the girl Skippy falls for, Carl, troubled drug dealer and who’s also in love in Lori, and Howard Fallon, Skippy’s History teacher. Each have problems of their own as well. This book is long, over 600 pages, and is a slow burner. There is a lot of talk about physics and multiple dimensions and M-theory which kinda bored me at times and made it hard to get through parts of the books. I do think it’s worth it though for what the big build up is, I thought it was amazing. This book is very dark but has it’s humorous moments too. I’m glad I finally read it after years of seeing it in the library!

 

March Stats

Number of books read- 5
Ratio fiction to non-fiction- All fiction
Number of eBooks- 2 (The Picture of Dorian Gray and Skippy Dies)

Number of audio books- 1 (Brooklyn)

Number of books borrowed from library- 4 (all but The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Number of books from Reading Resolutions- 1 (Read more Irish authors)

So 5 books. I think I could have gotten a few more in (I had another audiobook ready to listen to but never got around to it) except reading Skippy Dies slowed me down a lot as it was so big. I actually started reading it before the Clodagh Murphy book. I think I was just so busy as well that I lost interest in reading towards the end of the month. I finished Skippy Dies on 26th and I started 2 books but put them down again. I was at the library yesterday though and got some books out so I’m looking forward to getting stuck into them!

Monday, March 24, 2014

St. Patrick’s Day 2014 in London

I’m a bit late typing this so forgive me! After coming back from London, a had a whirlwind day or two to get ready to come back home to Ireland for a visit. I had half thought of writing some posts on the ferry but as it was quite rough, I wasn’t really in the mood for that!

I have only ever spent one St. Patrick’s Day out of Co.Clare. It was in 2009 in Cork, when I was in the middle of my 3rd year exams. I had an exam on the 16th and one on 18th, so it wasn’t feasible to go home for St. Patrick’s Day. I didn’t hugely enjoy the parade in Cork, so I was a bit hesitant about going to another big city celebration. I enjoy my small village parade, which I like to say is just full of tractors, trailers, and chickens.

However, the day in London started off glorious, it was up around 20 degrees, so I was optimistic about how the day would pan out. I arrived with my brother at Trafalgar square just before 2 o clock, so we had missed the parade part of things. Honestly though I wasn’t too upset about that! We had to queue for about 15-20 minutes to get into the square, as it was already choc-a-block. Once in, we more or less headed straight to comedy tent for a while. There we saw the end of Damien Clark’s act, Barry Murphy, Christiane O’Mahony and Willie White. I would have gladly stayed for more comedy as I was enjoying it so much but there was so much more to explore!

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Around the rest of the square, as well as the main tent, there was stalls for different Irish brands like Keogh’s crisps, Kerrygold, Jelly Bean Factory, and an Irish cheese stall, an Irish dancing tent, plenty of stalls to get beers in as well! There was also designated Irish speaks that you could talk to as gaelige if the mood struck.

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After the comedy tent, I saw a bit of Jig and then Kila played some music. During that time, a circle formed and some children did some Irish dancing!

After Kila, the Late Late House Band played. Hearing the Late Late theme song being played in the middle of Trafalgar is surreal! They played a few songs but were also joined on stage by a few guests, including Mundy and The London Irish Pensioners Choir.

Final act was a big one, Riverdance! I was excited about this, I’ve wanted to see it for years and especially now since this year marks the 20 years anniversary. Everyone in the crowd loved it, even if it was only on a short time.

My videos aren’t the best for all these things but they still give you a good idea of the atmosphere! Everyone was in such a happy mood, and I think I only saw one fight (that wasn’t too serious) and some idiots jumping into the fountain. And falling and mauling themselves! The whole crowd went ‘oooohhh’ when they fell. And then just started to ignore them after that.

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After, I went to dinner with my brother and cousins around Leicester Square. My table had a spare chair and so we offered the seat to an older man who had nowhere to sit. Turns out he had moved 50 years ago from Belfast (but still had a bit of an accent!) and had had a family. His wife had died a few years ago and 2 of his daughters now live abroad. He was a sweet man, who told us about how years ago he used to drink in Dublin with the Dubliners and told us jokes. He also offered to buy us a round of drinks before he left but there’s no way we could have let him do that, even if we weren’t about to leave ourselves. After eating, we met more family down in Elephant and Castle before heading back up to North London just after 11. Despite not drinking, I was exhausted the next day, I think a combination of the the heat, the long day and not drinking enough water left me tired and a bit dehydrated. Though I am very pleased I went, I really enjoyed the day, which in a way surprised me. Who knows where I’ll be next year for St. Patrick’s Day but hopefully I’ll still have a good time!

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Beautiful Ireland: What I’ve Seen

II originally started writing this post when I saw this video from a Canadian couple who spent 3 weeks in Ireland and then put together 19 minute video of their recordings and pictures. It’s beautiful and if I’m completely honest it made me cry a little. It reminded of how wonderful Ireland is, all the different things to do and places to see. This week, Failte Ireland released their #IrelandInspires video and it reminded me of this post.

These videos brought back the idea local tourism, how I, along with my boyfriend, friends and family, have tried experiencing local attractions, things we wouldn’t normally visit because it’s too close to us, and other places around Ireland. I thought I’d link to some of the posts I’ve made so far about this.

Staycation Post. First time I posted about places I’d visited in Ireland, this one dealing with a weekend away to the sunny South East. Dungarven, Mahon Falls, Cahir Castle and Rock of Cashel all got visited that weekend.

Local Tourist Part 1. In this post I talk about my boat tour along the bottom of The Cliffs of Moher.

Miss Courtney’s Tearooms, Killarney. A whole post on the beautiful Miss Courtney’s Tearooms in Killarney.

Guinness Store House in Dublin on a glorious sunny day

Surfing in Lahinch with Lahinch Surf Experience

Aran Islands on another glorious day (see, we do get good weather in Ireland at times!)

Loop Head Lighthouse

Just showing these posts makes me realise I have so many more experiences to share! So hopefully I’ll finally get around to making those blog posts in the future, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t have already!

Some other pictures I have that aren’t in any other posts

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Sunset in Lahinch, Co.Clare; Bluebells in my uncle’s garden

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Giant’s Causeway, Co.Antrim; Costa Del Clahane Summer 2013 Heatwave

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Donkey at Falls Hotel, Ennistymon; Clare win All-Ireland Hurling Championships

Finally, I leave you with a post I made back in 2011 for St. Patrick’s Day and Why It’s Great to be Irish.

Have a fantastic St. Patrick’s Day everyone. I’m looking to going home for a visit in a few days. Taytos, here I come!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

10 Shades of Green for Your Nails this St. Patrick’s Day

Alright, not quite 40 shades of green but I did go through all my nail polishes (about 270 in all!) and managed to find about 25 shades!

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I tried to go from light to dark as best I could

But I decided to just show 10 of them, as I really couldn’t be bothered take the colours off my nails to paint more on!

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I’ve tried to capture them in different lights to show how they can change depending on the light.

Thumb Essence in The Green and the Grunge. Grunge is perfect name for it, as it is quite a grungy shade. The bottle is marked as Colour of the Year, after last year’s colour being Emerald, and while it does look like that in the bottle, I find it doesn’t come out as vibrant or emeraldy enough as I thought it would

Index Sinful Colors in Rise and Shine. Without a top coat, this can come off as a semi-matte finish, just in case you’re interested in that. I did use top coats on all of these except the only matte I used. I really like how in the 3rd picture you can see the subtle glitter flecks running through it. This one has really grown on me!

Middle Revlon in Minted. A nice pale minty Shamrock Shake colour!

Ring Catrice in Hugo Moss. I found this the most difficult to photograph, as it quite vibrant in person but comes across dark. It takes 3 coats to build up a decent colour, it would be interesting to use in a jelly sandwich I think.

Little Catrice in Virgin Forest (Limited Edition). This is more the emerald I expected from Essence The Green and the Grunge, except this shade is shimmery. It really is quite eye catching!

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Little Revlon in Emerald City. This is a matte but it’s beautiful with a top coat too. Reminds me of crushed velvet.

Ring Sinful Colors in Mint Apple . This Sinful Color also has a subtle bit of glitter going through it, I just didn’t manage to capture it as well as the other. It’s a lovely minty green shade though, not as pale as the Revlon Minted.

Middle Rimmel in Sea Green. This is a nice sea green, as the name suggests. I think it really applies nicely.

Index Revlon in Sassy. Boyfriend was not impressed with this Shrek green colour!

Thumb NYC in Money Never Sleeps. Unfortunately I forgot to get a good angle on this! It’s quite dark.

And that’s it! Phew! I didn’t even get around to glitters, though I only have one or two. I did really want the Nails Inc Nail Jewellery in the green shade but never got around to it unfortunately. What are your favourite green nail polish shades?

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