Image Map

Thursday 29 October 2015

Sephora & Ulta Haul!

So, here it is at last! I know, I'm desperate. I haven't been feeling the best lately and that combined with jet lag and being run down have left me a bit slow on the blogging uptake. I'm getting there though, I promise! 
Anyway, you may recall I had written a whole post on what I planned on buying while in the states (HERE) and overall I did pretty well! I didn't get everything on it but I also got things that weren't on it in the first place so, that kind of works out even I guess?!

Sephora Haul


Sephora Favourites: Give Me Some Lip. A great way to try different brands, I love this set of six lip products from Tarte, Marc Jacobs, Make Up For Ever, Kat Von D, Sugar and Sephora.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit in Light to Medium. I have yet to use this but I'll get on it and report back!
I was determined to try some bits from Tony Moly, I never have and they're just so cute. So, I got; Panda's Dream Brightening Eye Base, Mini Cherry Lip Balm and Mini Peach Lip Balm (I got totally suckered by the shelves of tiny cute things at the counter).
These Lip Pencils from Nars were my free birthday gift (thanks, Sephora!), I'm thrilled as I really wanted to try classic red, Cruella and Rikugien looks like a great everyday shade.
I had a few bits from Becca on my list that I wanted to try (I swatched the Jacyln Hill highlighter but it just wasn't me) and found this great set from Ulta. I had to throw out the box to make room but that aside it contained; Under Eye Brightening Corrector, Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlights in Opal, Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Opal and Beach Tint Lip Shimmer Souffle in Raspberry Opal. I'm going to try these out properly and get back to ye!
Sephora Rouge Infusion Lip Ink in Peony and Cherry Nectar. Peony is actually one of the mini sizes in the give me some lip set & I loved it so much I had to get it in full and try another shade!
Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Black and Lock-It Concealer; it's actually a miracle that I didn't buy more from Kat Von D. I was tempted by the contouring palette and the foundation but decided against both on swatching. I LOVE both of these though.


I had the Kate Somerville Goat's Milk Cream on my list before I went and had the Fresh Black Tea Overnight Mask on my Pinterest list (I should explain this; I created a list of Sephora things I wanted in my "likes" section, which I was then able to refer to whilst shopping. Handy!)
Both were pretty pricey but I'm loving them so it's been well worth it so far!
I wanted to try some Boscia and a sheet mask so I combined the two with this Tsubaki Oil Deep Hydration Hydrogen Mask. I also really wanted to try the Sephora Eye Masks and so I went for this Green Tea one.
Ole Henriksen was on my list but I didn't want to splash out on any full size without trying them first. I love Sephora for these mini sets, you actually get a lot with three different small products for the price of one. It's ideal for someone like me who likes to mix up their skincare a good bit! Included in the set is Truth Serum Collagen Booster, Sheer Transformation and Invigorating Night Treatment. 
Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil Light. This was a free gift with purchase in Sephora. I've only briefly tried this but I love it- super comforting!


Living Proof Perfect Hair Day 5 in 1 Treatment. I had this on my list and it was a good purchase; I've been using it since buying it and I'm really liking it. I'll have a full post soon.
Caviar CC Cream 10 in 1 Complete Correction Leave In Hair Perfector. Another gift with purchase; make sure and get yourself a Sephora card, you collect points super fast!
Blow Pro Faux Dry Shampoo & Conditioner. These were a free gift with purchase in Ulta. Haven't tried a dry conditioner before so that's quite intriguing!
Perfect Formula Nail Essentials Duo; includes a protein rich Gel Coat and a Pink Gel Coat. Both seal, strengthen and protect nails. I bought this thinking it'd be a good alternative to my Dior Pink polish but with the added benefit of a nail strengthener.
Lancome La Vie Est Belle Rollerball Eau de Parfum. I wanted to pick up another rollerball after losing my Flowerbomb one somewhere (gah) & I love this perfume. They have a good range of rollerballs in Sephora actually. I also picked up this set of Elizabeth and James Nirvana Rollerballs. I've written about all three of these scents in more detail HERE.

I haven't gone into too much detail here because I will be writing individual reviews. Let me know if there's anything you'd particularly like to see reviewed though!

Monday 26 October 2015

October Book Haul!

I really should make this a more regular post, I know I always enjoy seeing other bloggers book hauls as it gives me ideas (ideas I clearly do not need) about books I want to read and if nothing else, I really just enjoy being nosey and seeing what books people are reading. 
Oh and I have tsundoku. It's a real thing, promise.***

Anyway, here's what I've bought, been given, downloaded on my kindle and on audible in the last couple of months. 

Real Life Purdy Books:

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby 
I haven't read this one, which I know, is surprising considering I've read quite a lot of Hornby's other works and High Fidelity is possibly his most well known (it's also his first). I loved the film with John Cusack so I'm not really sure reading this is even necessary- I've already started it and it's fairly similar to the big screen adaptation, minus a move of location from Britain to America. The main character is Rob; a music shop owner, detailing his romantic history, while unable to get over one woman in particular; Laura.

Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit
This was a Boston purchase. I've wanted to read this for a while and I really liked the cover (anyone who tells you that they don't judge a book by its cover is a dirty liar). This is a comic but scathing essay about what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women; where some men wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume the women they're talking to don't. Basically, it's about mansplaining. It's only 154 pages long so it'll be a quick and hopefully interesting read!

Breakfast At Tiffany's by Truman Capote
Again, another book I've wanted to read for a long time after loving the film. I specifically wanted to read this while I was in New York, as it's based there and happily, I found this beautiful edition on sale in the New York Public Library book shop. The book is quite different to the film so I'd say it's well worth a read. There's also three brilliant short stories in here too. I'll have a full review up at the end of the month!

Woman In The Making by Rory O' Neill
My sister dropped this over last week. Like most of the country (more than 60% of us! Woop!), I greatly appreciated Panti's involvement in the Yes Equality campaign and as a result I've been keen to learn more about Rory O' Neill's journey from small town Ireland to glamorous PantiBliss and becoming one of the more prominent voices of acceptance and diversity in Ireland.

Keeping Up With The Kalashnikovs by Ross O' Carroll-Kelly
This was another one from my sister. She's now added to the list of countless numbers of people who have recommended Ross O' Carroll Kelly's books to me so it's about time I read them I guess!

Mindfulness: A Practical Guide To Finding Peace In A Frantic World by Mark Williams & Danny Penman
My father-in-law lent this to me a while ago actually but I'm only looking at it now as I've recently been trying to get into mindfulness as a way to deal with everyday stress and anxiety. Here's a little about the book: 
"Mindfulness reveals a set of simple yet powerful practices that you can incorporate into daily life to help break the cycle of anxiety, stress, unhappiness and exhaustion"
You're recommended to invest a few minutes of each day in mindful meditation with the aim of quickly feeling more in control and able to enjoy life agin…sounds good, right?! There's a CD included as well as sometimes audio is particularly useful for meditative purposes. I'll let ye know how I get on with it!

I'm signed up to Amazon Kindle daily deals so I get an email every day with super cheap offers. I know this is detrimental to the small business owner, which is why I balance it out by also spending a stupid amount in store on actual, tangible books too. I'm a real philanthropist like that..ahem.

The Book Of You by Claire Kendal
I've seen lots of good reviews of this stalker-thriller on other blogs so I jumped at the chance to read it for 99p!

Pet Sematary by Stephen King
As it's set in Maine, I had big plans to read this whilst in Maine but sure we were too busy scampering about the place, eating lobster and drinking gin cocktails to do any reading. Then I thought I might read this before Halloween but again, I'm struggling to read at all at the minute. Being a kind of animal zombie story and one of King's most popular horrors, I'm looking forward to this one, just need to find the time!  

The Thrill Of It All by Joseph O' Connor
This one is for a new book club that I've joined. It's surprisingly long so is taking me a while but I'm enjoying it. It's a faux autobiography of an ageing rock star with a decidedly Irish leaning. It's entertaining and nostalgic for a time I wasn't even alive- so far so good!

I always have an audio book on the go, it's great for doing the housework and going for walks.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
Having read and enjoying Mindy's first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, I was eager to read her follow-on book that details her life as a celebrity and the changes that brings. I enjoy Audible for these types of books because t they're often read by the author and that adds a little something extra to the story, I feel. Full review coming soon!

After You by JoJo Moyes
I loved Me Before You, the book that lead to After You. I was really looking forward to this and I quite like the narrator- it can make or break it when it comes to an audio book. I'm still listening to it but I'll have a review up soon to let you know whether it's worth your time and money!

Have you read any of these? Bought any good reads lately?


Friday 23 October 2015

5 Products To A Better Smelling You!

(not that any of you are stinky, mind)

While I'm still loving my Soap & Glory body sprays, I'm always picking up new scents that I love- be that perfume, shower gel, body lotion etc.

First up is Italian Summer Fig*. I've actually been wearing this gorgeous EDT from The Body Shop for the past couple of months now and although it has Summer in its name, I can see myself wearing it for the forthcoming year. It's not specific to a season for me, as it's light, fruity and fresh but has a heady dose of fig in there adding a warmth and a strength that prevents it from falling into sugary territory. As a side note, would you look at that bottle! Swoon! You can find it HERE.

I've loved Roger & Gallet for a while now; I'm a big fan of their fragrances and their hand creams, all of which smell heavenly and so I was delighted to receive their latest shower gel; Douche de Bienfait* to try out. I've been lathering up with this for the past few weeks and am enamoured with its blend of mandarin, bergamot, lemon and blood orange. If you're looking to wake up, a collection of citrus fruits is the way to do it! As well as a good lather, it also contains Aloe Vera to help soothe and moisturise dry skin. Win! You can find Roger & Gallet in pharmacies nationwide and Marks & Spencer beauty halls.

When I was in the States I was all about getting rollerball perfumes; we don't really get them over here and I find them super handy for throwing in my bag. I hadn't planned on picking this one up from L'ancome but as a huge fan of La Vie Est Belle, I kind of had to get this. It still reminds me a bit of Flowerbomb by Victor and Rolf (one of my all time favourites) but it's different enough that it's acceptable to have both…ahem. Anyway, this is an oriental, feminine fragrance blending iris with patchouli and it is GORGEOUS. I will eventually get a larger size.

Still on my rollerball roll (ha), I picked up this Elizabeth and James Nirvana duo. This is the Olsen sister's brand and it's very them; monochrome, sleek and stylish. There's two fragrances; Nirvana Black and Nirvana White. Black is a sweet but intense blend of violet, sandalwood and vanilla that hits an interestingly androgynous note. White on the other hand is a feminine but dark mix of peony, muguet and musk. They're both so different but both very alluring in their own way and are quite long-lasting on the skin. Really enjoying these. This set was $25 from Sephora.

I needed another body butter from The Body Shop like a hole in the head but while in an outlet store stateside, I found this limited edition Deluxe Chocolate one (for super cheap) which came out a year or so ago and although I missed out on it then, I was not going to leave it behind this time! The Body Shop do my favourite body butters and the heady hit of cocoa when you open this pot is frankly, glorious. It is of course, also wonderfully moisturising and perfect for this time of year as dry skin starts to make an appearance.

What's your current go-to scent?

*Press samples, gratefully received. All opinions my own, as always.

Tuesday 20 October 2015

An Ode To Gilmore Girls

Amazing news came last night via Timeline that a limited-series revival of beloved show Gilmore Girls has been confirmed and will appear on Netflix with most of the original cast so far on board. Hurrah!! 

I was a late-comer to the show as I very mistakenly originally thought it was a Seventh Heaven type of schmaltzy American dross. Oh, how wrong I was. When I had to spend a lengthy period of time in hospital, it was Gilmore Girls that helped get me through. I recall a doctor one day asking me what I was watching and after he then asked me what it was about (having never seen it himself), I struggled. How do you even describe a show this multi-facetedly awesome?? 
So although I couldn't give an adequate enough reason as to why I loved it so much then, I'll make up for it now:

  • Firstly it's HILARIOUS. One of the wittiest and most well-written tv shows I've ever seen, it's clever but not pretentious. There are plenty of genuine laugh out loud moments, in-jokes and long running gags. Oh and if you don't find Kirk funny then there's nothing I can do for you.

  • It's comforting. Ideal for when you're not feeling well, or homesick, or when your mood is a bit low. Really it's akin to a big warm hug and a mug of hot chocolate (or coffee..when in Rome!) The characters are loveable and relatable. The show itself is visually beautiful (more on that later) and the story lines are all pretty mild; no one is murdered, life is generally all very pleasant- but- and this is important- it's never sickeningly sweet.

  • At its heart it's about relationships and who has a better relationship than Lorelai and Rory? Their mother-daughter bond was a pleasure to watch; two smart, funny women who loved coffee and pop culture and from them, the relationships they have with those around them. It's also a strongly feminist show- Lorelai was more than capable of having a baby on her own and building a career from nothing. She brings Rory up to be a well-rounded, intelligent and decent human being and did so without any help. G'wan Lorelai!

  • The secondary characters in the show are all amazing. I've already mentioned Kirk but what about Michel, Sookie (the wonderful Melissa McCarthy), Paris, Lane, Miss Patty and Richard and Emily Bishop, Lorelai's somewhat estranged parents? All well-developed, individual characters that added so much to the show.

  • The Gilmores live in Stars Hollow, a small town in Connecticut. This means we get to see beautiful Autumnal hues of jewel coloured leaves filling up the town square in Autumn and snow (Lorelai's favourite) covering all the Christmas decorations in Winter. Having recently been to Connecticut, I can happily tell you that it heavily resembles the show- the diners all look like Luke's, the Bed and Breakfasts all feel like The Dragonfly Inn and the town centres all have that cute, quaint feel to them that you get from Stars Hollow. 

  • The love stories are addictive. Lookit, I may have been all for each of Rory's different boyfriends at the time but I will always be firmly Team Logan. If they can nab Matt Czuchry back from The Good Wife for the new episodes I'll be only thrilled. No Dean, please. Never Dean. Obviously, I always wanted Lorelai and Luke to get together..that was a long auld road, wha'?

  • It's a small thing but I loved the Gilmore coffee addiction, something I can definitely relate to although perhaps not on quite this level:

  • Lastly and unsurprisingly, I loved Rory's book obsession. I could most definitely relate to her love of reading although it is sightly depressing how many more books she's read in comparison to myself! I wrote a blog post about the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge before HERE. I'm slowly working my way through it!

There's probably way more reasons to love GG that I'm forgetting and if I have, let me know in the comments! 
Anyone else really in need of a re-watch now?!

Monday 12 October 2015

NYC- Highlights & Top Tips!

I'm back! I took three weeks off there for the holiday of a lifetime. Himself and I went Stateside and explored New York, Boston and as much of New England as we could fit in. This was actually a second honeymoon for us as when we got married I was too ill to leave the country and although we very much made up for it by staying in some of the most beautiful destinations in Ireland, we felt now was a good time to do something BIG to belatedly celebrate our nuptials. 
Himself actually planned the trip given his propensity for organisation so I can take zero credit for all the amazing things we did. Also, we spent a full week in New York and did some pretty cool stuff, which I could surely write several blog posts on but instead I'm condensing it into one. There'll be posts on Boston and New England to follow plus some beauty hauls (I *may have gone slightly mad in Sephora).

Statue of Liberty
I know this is an obvious one but she's such an iconic figure of the Big Apple that I couldn't wait to get to her! We booked our tickets for the ferry beforehand, HERE. There's usually fairly substantial amounts of people queuing for this and it was no exception for us but the line does move quickly. The boat stops at Liberty Island first, where you can either roam about the island, get to the podium or climb up into the crown (all dependant on which ticket you've booked. Bear in mind that if you want to book the crown you'll need to have organised it several months in advance). We booked the podium only and while we really enjoyed it, I'm not sure it added a huge amount to the experience. Being on the island alone would probably have been enough. It's a self-guided tour but audio guides are also available for no extra charge. The museum was interesting and overall, we absolutely loved seeing the statue. You can then wait for the next boat to either bring you to Ellis Island or back to the docks at Battery Park

The Highline
We actually did this as soon as we arrived and were settled into our apartment. The High Line is a public park, built on a historic freight line elevated above the streets of Manhattan's West Side. It's very cool. You get great views of the city as you walk through, with places to sit while looking at works of art along the way, food stalls and interactive exhibitions (we loved a lego exhibition that was full of people adding their own creations- check out ours below!). As it's a public park, it's free and is a great way to get some fresh air and see a different side of the city. I would 100% recommend this!

Central Park & The American Museum of Natural History
I'm putting these two together because they are right beside each other and it's easy to do both at the same time! Central Park is beautiful and is full of life; stalls, street performers, joggers, people with their kids, tourists etc but it still feels a bit calmer than the rest of the city and is a lovely place to relax. I've also included a photo of the John Lennon memorial, which is in Strawberry Fields.
We ended up spending most of a day in the Museum which was really interesting; there were current exhibitions of live tropical butterflies, spiders (shudder) and the secret ocean as well as the permanent exhibition….DINOSAURS!!!! You can see me below there cowering in fear. Ahem.
Admission starts at $22 (see HERE) but can be more expensive depending on what other things you want to see. I'd avoid the restaurant if you can; the food was fine but it was quite pricy for what it was.

We've both been to MoMA before but it's definitely worth a second visit. It's $25 each for entry but is free in between the hours of 4-8 on Friday afternoons (more of that below). MoMA is one of the best modern art museums either of use have ever been to and as well as the well known works from the likes of Picasso, Monet, Warhol, Hopper, Rothko, Dali, Kahlo, Lichtenstein and Pollock, you'll also find some more obscure contemporary art also. It is again, self-guided but there's really quite brilliant audio guides (you can see it in the photo below beside my gin cocktail!) 
You could easily spend a whole day here over the various floors and the gift shop is well worth a look too! Oh and the restaurant is excellent with a great view overlooking the garden. 
Plus, delish cocktails!

The Book of Mormon & Fool For Love
If you can, try and fit in a Broadway show. We went to two, musical (The Book of Mormon is hilarious) and a play, just to get the full New York theatre experience! Fool For Love was a brilliant Sam Shepard play, starring Sam Rockwell (of 7 Psychopaths fame). We loved them both- money well spent. After The Book of Mormon we went and searched out a Speakeasy bar in Chelsea, Bathtub Gin, which had been recommended to us (thanks again Áine!) where we had a great meal and delicious (but lethal drinks). Such a good night. 

30 Rock & Brooklyn Bridge
I'm putting these two together because if you're looking for stunning views of the city, this is where you want to be. I had on a previous visit to New York been to the Empire State building but we decided to go with 30 Rock as you can see the Empire State from its roof! Again, we booked online first and as I've mentioned below in the tips section- be prepared for queues! 
To get to the bridge, we took the subway to Brooklyn, walked for a couple of blocks and then crossed back to Manhattan. We went at nighttime so got some great views of the city all lit up but the bridge itself is architecturally quite beautiful so would be a great walk any time of the day really. Just make sure you stay out of the bicycle lane- I saw some tourists having their heads bitten off by angry cyclists!)

Ground Zero
This is a unique and striking memorial to those who lost their lives during the 9/11 attacks. I feel like this is a completely personal choice for whether to visit it or not but as we were nearby for the Satute of Liberty ferry anyway so we were able to see this also. Truthfully, this is a very moving and poignant place and reading all of the names of the deceased is upsetting; I left teary-eyed but was glad we had gone.

New York Public Library & Grand Central Station
Being book nerds there's no way we could have gone to New York and not visited their stunning library. This is free in and is well worth scouting out for the architecture alone. There's also a pretty cool little gift shop for those of us who adore books and their associated paraphernalia (I got my gorgeous copy of Breakfast at Tiffany's here. Love) as well as a quite moving photography exhibition downstairs (I cried in public for about the 70th time this year. Thanks, NYPL). Oh and on the path to the library there's the Library Walk, a celebration of the world's greatest literature-plaques depicting beautiful literary quotes.
Grand Central Station was just around the corner and we actually did get a train from there but it's also worth a look, purely for the architecture again. I was keeping an eye out for Serena Van Der Woodsen but no joy.

Sorry for all the library shots (not sorry at all)

  • Book as much as you can in advance to cut down on queues. This can be a risk weather-wise but generally it was worth it to save disappointment. Obviously some things are easier to book in advance- the theatre etc. We looked into buying New York Pass tickets but it actually worked out cheaper for us not to get them because of our schedule. They do seem to be quite cost effective in general though, so check them out before you go.
  • Look into Airbnb for accommodation. The city of New York is currently cracking down on illegal Airbnb rentals but there's still up to 25,000 available rentals and it is seriously cheaper than staying in any of the city's hotels, which are awfully expensive. The place we stayed in was clean, nicely decorated with all mod cons and close to a subway station, restaurants, grocery shops, bars etc.
  • Buy a weekly Metrocard for the Subway. We ended up using it a few times a day and it's a handy way to get about the city for a lot less than taxis and you'll be saving your feet!
  • Bring a hand sanitizer with you-you'll need it on the subway!
  • MoMA is free in on Friday afternoons but it didn't suit us time-wise. As we were leaving MoMA on Friday it was just time for the free admissions and it was already getting jammers. Uncomfortably so. If you like to have a bit of space to look at your art properly, it might be worth  not going for the free option!
  • There are often free events on in Times Square. One time we passed through they were broadcasting the opening night of the Met (with an operatic version of Othello) with lots of chairs out for people to sit down and take it in. 
  • Speaking of Times Square, avoid eating around there as it tends to be pricier and at times less of a unique dining experience.
  • Bring ID with you to bars. I'm on the dodgy side of 30 and still needed it. Grr.
  • The pre-made coffee in deli/gorcery stores is horrendous. Avoid.
  • You'll find your food options will involve a lot of meat, cheese and fried goods. Just embrace it, it's delicious. Also, NYC is expensive, for food and drink (in comparison to everywhere else we were on the East coast)
  • Prepare to queue to get to the top of 30 Rock- we had pre-booked tickets and were going out afterwards but thought we'd be fine time-wise. Wrong! The queues to get up and back down were impressive enough- this is especially true for peak times; sunset, night time etc.
  • As for beauty and clothing, because there's tax on everything you're better off buying things you can't get at home. This is hard for us beauty addicts in Sephora but it'll save you money in the long run!
  • On the topic of Sephora- make sure and get your loyalty card; you get gifts back when you spend a certain amount and you get a birthday gift! Hurrah!
  • It's still very warm at this time of year (that was two weeks ago, this will obviously be changeable) and if you're going in early Autumn, make sure and bring a light jacket/scarf with you for the evening. Bearing in mind you won't need it for the subway, which is like the 7th circle of hell, heat-wise.
  • Speaking of heat, try and stay down-wind of the bins on the street corners. They smell vile. 
An that's that! So while I could go on at length I'm going to leave it at there. Make sure and keep an eye on the blog for more American shenanigans! Who else LOVES New York as much as me?!

*I definitely did. There's no "may" about it.