Friday, January 31, 2014

Big Beauty Haul

Now, usually I don’t buy too much makeup. I don’t wear it too often, not on a daily basis anyway (sure, I don’t be leaving the house most days so why would I put it on?!). However, I decided yesterday to pop into Superdrug ‘for a browse’ and came out much, much poorer! Seriously, this is why I’ll never pick up a basket in Superdrug or Boots ever again! Way too tempting to throw things in. Though I am going to justify this with the fact that I paid for this mostly with money I got from Christmas that I hadn’t spent yet (the joys of being stuck in bed for over 2 weeks). And I’m going to put myself on a beauty spending ban for February and possibly even March as I NEED to start getting through things. Anyway, onwards to pictures!


Entire beauty haul


All nail varnish


Maybelline Color Show Street Artist Top Coat Collection. Left to right: Boom Box Black, Alley Attitude, Urban Vibe, White Splatter


Other nail varnish, left to right: Maybelline Color Show Stripped Nudes Collection in Bronze Me Up, Revlon Neon Nail Art in Amped Up, NYC in Water Street Blue, Bourjois 1 Seconde in Violine Hypnotique


Make up, left to right: L’Oreal Miss Manga Mascara in Black, NYC Show Time Mascara in Black, Maybelline Fit Me Anti-Shine Stick Foundation in 120, L’Oreal Collection Privée Les Nudes Lipstick in Julianne’s Nude, NYC Smooth Skin Press Face Powder in Naturally Beige


Hair products, left to right: Superdrug Firm Hold Hairspray, Aussie Miracle Shine Shampoo, Aussie Miracle Moist Conditioner, Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Frizz Remedy Deep Conditioner

Now, the reason I wanted to buy most of these things is thanks to reading beauty blogs. Beauty blogs are DANGEROUS! They enable you so much. I’ve decided to link the blog posts that inspired my purchases.

L’Oreal Miss Manga Mascara- I’ve seen this on blogs a lot recently and I was underwhelmed, until I saw this post and just had to have it!

Bourjois Violine Hypnotique Nail Polish- It seems like I just can’t get away from this polish! It keeps popping up all over social media, most of it from Sue from CherrySue, who along with this post from Lovely Girlie Bits, definitely inspired this purchase.

L’Oreal Collection Privée Les Nudes Lipstick in Julianne’s Nude- These aren’t new, in fact the post that inspired this purchase was published back in September, but I couldn’t get this shade out of my head! Sinead over at Viva Adonis showed off several of these lipsticks but the Julianne stuck out in my head. It’s been there for a while, which is something as I don’t wear lipstick that often!

Maybelline Fit Me Anti Shine Stick Foundation- It was mainly due to Siobhan at Letzmakeup’s video about the foundation that I wanted to buy this but then I also remembered Karen at Lovely Girlie Bits (again!) post on the foundation and decided to chuck it in the basket.

As for the rest, I never need any enabling to buy nail varnish, I’ve been wanting to try out Aussie again for ages and it was 3 for £10, I needed hair spray as I have done and want to try out new hair styles, and I needed a new face powder as I left mine back in Ireland and the NYC mascara came free with 2 NYC purchases! Hopefully I will have some nail swatches up soon in the next few days, that’s my plan anyway. What have you bought recently? Tried any of these products? What did you think?

(PS sorry the photos aren’t the greatest. The new house I’m in has lousy natural light. I really need to find a way to remedy this!)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Guilty Pleasures: Stop Feeling So Guilty About Them!

I’ve long had this opinion on guilty pleasures but it wasn’t until I saw this picture of Dave Grohl talking about it that I was inspired to write this post.


Preach Dave! He’s right, he’s so right. Really, why should you be ashamed if something makes you happy?! Life is too short to give a toss about what someone thinks about your taste.

I have actually spoken briefly about this on here before. When I started this blog back in 2010 (wow, has it really been that long?!), I did a 30 Day Music Meme. Day 13 was A Song That’s a Guilty Pleasure. I’m going to repeat here what I said in that post. I don’t feel like I have guilty pleasures. I’m pretty open about liking things. At the moment, I can’t think of anything off the top of my head that I keep as a guilty secret. I like cheesy music like Barry Manilow, Ricky Martin, Jedward! I’ve been to a Jedward concert. And a Busted concert. Wake Me Up by Wham! is one of my favourite songs. I LOVE Eurovision!

And it’s not just music I feel this way. I love reading Young Adult (YA books). Sometimes I like eating toasted sandwiches made with Easi Singles cheese. I could watch The Jeremy Kyle Show and Judge Judy for hours. I like films that are easy to watch, predictable and fluffy. Seriously I could go on and on about this.

I remember once reading this book called The Encyclopaedia of Guilty Pleasures and I spent the time reading it thinking ‘Why are people embarrassed about this?!’. I may tease my brother about his music tastes from time to time but he doesn’t give a shite if people know he likes Joe Dolan, country music or Rat Pack stuff.

It used to be that people never admitted to liking nerdy and geeky things. These days though, you can’t go on Tumblr, Facebook or Pinterest without people declaring their love for Doctor Who, Star Trek, Star Wars, video games etc. And I love it! My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is a cartoon show aimed at kids, yet it has a massive adult following. So much so that men who love Friendship is Magic call themselves bronies and don’t care what people of them liking the show.

So, whatever you love, whether you love One Direction and you’re not a teenager. Whether you’re a big fan of Mrs Brown’s Boys, or love to read Mills and Boons. Whether you love to wear scrunchies or love High School Musical. Don’t be ashamed of what you love, embrace it, it’s part of you. And while I’m at it, dance how you want to dance, don’t be afraid of looking stupid, just enjoy it!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2014 Books Releases I’m Looking Forward To

Sorry for the lack of activity on here, I got back from spending Christmas in Ireland and promptly got sick. I’ve spent over the past week in bed with a bad cough and cold. Needless to say I wasn’t inspired to write much, not when coughing up a lung (or so it felt). It did give me some time to think and I got wondering what books I’m looking forward to in 2014. At first I couldn’t think of much but when I went researching I came up with this list. Not everything is finalised for all these books, some don’t even have names, just mere hints on Twitter that the book will be out in 2014. So onwards with the list!

Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (AKA J.K. Rowling)
the-silkwormThis was one of the first ones I could think of when I first started to make a list. I have no name yet, nor a release date. Just a promise on the Robert Galbraith website that the second book has already been finished and should be out this year! This better happen! Scratch that! The name and release date has been announced. Called The Silkworm and is out 19th June.


Think Like a Freak by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
think-like-a-freakThe 3rd book from the Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics authors is due out May 13th. I loved Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics so I’m really looking forward to this. About time there was a 3rd book!




Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (and Other Lessons from the Crematory) by Caitlin Doughty
smoke-gets-in-your-eyesI’m a big fan of Caitlin Doughty’s YouTube Ask A Mortician (I’ve often posted the videos in my YouTube Picks) and her Order of the Good Death. It was announced on her blog back in October 2012 that she would be releasing a memoir. Her most recent blog post states that it’s been slated for an Autumn release this year, yay! ETA: Out 15th September.


Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
mr mercedes
Hurrah, our first book cover! According to the Wikipedia page for this book, it’s supposed to be King’s first ‘hard-boiled detective book’. That’s the main reason it’s peaked my interest if I’m honest! Last year helped piqued my interest again in detective stories. This is due to be released June 3rd.

Too Much Information: Or: Can Everyone Just Shut Up for a Moment, Some of Us are Trying to Think by Dave Gorman
dave gorman
Yes, the title is a mouthful! I had forgotten I had earmarked this book to read when Dave had first announced about it on Twitter. Part of the synopsis says ‘Suspicious adverts, baffling newspaper headlines, fake twitter, endless cat videos, insane TV shows where the presenters ask the same questions over and over…
Can we even hear ourselves think over the rising din? Or is there just too much information?’
. I love a good Dave Gorman book, I’ve been a big fan of his for a while so looking forward to this one for sure! Release date is June 5th.

Who Is Tom Ditto? by Danny Wallace
tom ditto
This is Danny Wallace’s second novel (first being Charlotte Street). I’m a big fan of his non-fiction work (Yes Man was original a book by him before they made it into a film) and I enjoyed Charlotte Street. On my search of books that are due out this year I came across this new novel Who Is Tom Ditto?. Story sounds interesting (Tom awakes one day to a baffling note from his girlfriend that says Tom,I have not left you. But I am gone. Please carry on as normal. Love always, Hayley) which I must say intrigues me! Release date is April 24th.

The Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
jenny colgan
I generally enjoy Jenny Colgan’s book, they’re an easy read but always sweet and fun. This book will follow Polly, who moves to sleepy seaside resort after a break up and ends up, by the sounds of it, accidently opening a bakery. Due to be released 13th March.

How To Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran
This new book by Caitlin Moran is a novel but it’s based on her life between ages 14 and 17. In an article with Stylist, Moran says about the book (it’s about) That time where you realise you’re going to have to invent yourself. So, you go out there and find poems and role models. You bolt yourself together and it’s like Weird Science. And the first one you make is a freak without brains. I want to make amazing female protagonists, and while I may not have done that, I have made a protagonist who has sex with a man with a uselessly large penis’. So that sounds interesting! And considering I loved her stories about her teenage years in How to be a Woman (cheese on cheese sandwich anyone? With it’s own theme song to Girls on Film by Duran Duran!), I think I’ll enjoy this. Release date July 3rd.

Four: A Divergent Story Collection by Veronica Roth
A set of short stories from the Divergent world, told from the perspective of Four. Not incredibly excited about this I must say, though I will probably pick it up at some stage as I did enjoy the Divergent trilogy. Amazon has the release as June 25th but I read an article somewhere saying that it’s been pushed back to July. So expect it some time around then!

Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch
Last but not least! I actually didn’t have a name for this book just now. I had originally gone onto Ben Aaronovitch’s Twitter on the off chance of finding any tweets about the next book in the Rivers of London series. I found one where he said he’s hoping for an August release date. When I went back on Twitter just now to retrieve said tweet, I came across another tweet from another user with a link to the Amazon page for the new book. I swear it wasn’t there last night when I went looking it up but then again it was 4am! Amazon has the date listed as July 17th. Very excited to read the next PC Peter Grant instalment!
And that’s it! For now anyway, I’m sure there will be other books that will interest me as the year goes on, as more are announced. Very pleased there’s a good chunk of books from some of my favourite authors. Not a bad mix of fiction and non-fiction too. Let me know in the comments if any of these interest you or if there’s any books you’re really looking forward to!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cooking and Food Resolutions

Ok, I know I said I wasn’t going to do this, but when I saw this Huffington Post article I was inspired and decided to make a list, at least so I could remember reading this article!

1. Eating more vegetarian meals

I like the idea of incorporating more vegetarian meals into what I regularly cook. I think the whole Meatless Monday idea is a great idea and I want to be inspired to cook more meatless meals.

2. Use my cast iron skillet

Ok, I’m totally robbing this from Huff Po but I have yet to use my cast iron skillet. This is due to the fact that my boyfriend used it once and stuck it in a dishwasher, despite me telling him not to, and it getting rusty. So I need to recondition it first before I use it!

3. Experiment more with slow cooker

Yes, another robbed one but I totally want to use my slow cooker more. They are so handy and I have pinned loads of recipes, so I really have no excuse.

4. Bake more bread

I wanted to do this in 2013 but only managed to try a few new recipes. While I’m pretty confident when it comes to baking cakes, breads scare me a bit and since I’m in the spirit of trying not to be too scared in case I mess things up, I think trying more bread recipes is perfect for that.

5. Make slow cooked pull pork

I’ve been dreaming of making this for so, so long and have never gotten around to it. I really need to stop dreaming and get making!

6. Stop wasting food

I’m just as bad as most people when it comes to food wastage, forgetting what’s in the fridge and having to throw it out. I want to tackle this and cut down on wasting food.

7. Be a bit more adventurous

I grew up a very fussy eater. Luckily I learned to branch out a bit more in college and shock horror, I actually eat vegetables now! Still, I’m hesitant to try some foods, usually foods I’m convinced I don’t like, despite probably never trying them. I also want to retry some foods I know I don’t like, give them another chance. Top of this list is the banana (something about the texture!)

8. Make more sweets and candy

Another thing I’m slightly afraid of, despite owning quite a few books on how to make sweets and candy. I have a sugar thermometer and need to try use it more, master a few classic sweets.

9. Aim for more fruit and veg

Because really, we all need to do this.

10. Pick out a pasta shape I’ve never tried before and cook with it

I often look at different shapes at supermarket but never pick them up. This is me giving myself permission to pick one up!

While I really like the cook book idea (try at least one recipe from each cookbook you own), I won’t have all mine with me in UK. Until I’m reunited with them, I might try cooking recipes from any cookbooks I get out from the library.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Reading Resolutions 2014

I made a Reading Resolutions post last year to shake things up and motivate myself a bit when it came to my reading patterns. While I only completed 7/12  goals, I did really enjoy it and had already decided early on that I wanted to give it a go this year as well.

1. Reduce the amount of books I own to read

I own a lot of books that I haven’t read yet. And I seriously need to start getting through them before purchasing new titles (both physical and lately ebooks). I didn’t bring all my books when I moved, only a small selection that I really wanted to read, so hopefully I will be inspired to actually read them!

2. Read a more diverse selection of authors

I tend to stick with what I know when it comes to author. I want to try more authors from countries and continents I’m not familiar with. So I want to try and read at least one author from each continent that I haven’t read before, to discover more about different countries and cultures. This is why I love Listopia on Goodreads, you can find all sorts of lists on their with recommendations. I know I have a bunch on books on my to read list that will come under this, so hopefully it’ll motivate me to read them.

3. Try more genres I’m not so keen on

I’m not the biggest fan of sci-fi or fantasy (though I do like some elements of fantasy and magical realism in books). I’ve only read one or two graphic novels and I’ve never tried manga. I tend to shy away from horrors and thrillers and I can be a bit of a snob when it comes to romance. And with non-fiction, I tend to not gravitate towards sports, politics, and art. I want to open my mind a bit, give things a go. If I don’t enjoy it, well I don’t have to finish it! You never know, I could end up with some new favourites.

4. Appreciate Irish authors

Yes, I know I want to branch out and try new cultures and authors, but at the same time I think it’s only right to embrace some home grown talent. For such a small island, Ireland is rammed with all sorts of talents and writing is definitely one. I’d love to hear your Irish author suggestions.

5. Read a randomly picked book from 1001 Books to Die Before You Die list

This one is inspired by Sharon over at Behind Green Eyes. The idea is to use random number generator to pick a number between 1-1001 and read the corresponding book. Kinda nervous about it but I could luck out and get something interesting!

6. Judge a book by its cover and read it

I plan on either buying or renting a book from library based on the cover alone. Shallow, perhaps, but could be interesting!

7. Read To Kill a Mockingbird

Yes, from last year’s list but I really need to do it. It’s been sitting there for so long!

8. Do BookTubeaThon again this year and complete those challenges

I really enjoyed it last year so I’m looking forward to it again this year.

That’s it for now, I might update it but I don’t want to add too much. If you have any suggestions for anything above I would really love to hear them, it will help me so much!

Friday, January 3, 2014

My Top 5s of 2013!

So the past few years I’ve done favourite songs of the year posts but I’ve decided this year to condense down my favourite songs, books, films and TV shows into a top 5 list post.

Top 5 Songs

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ‘Can’t Hold Us’

While I loved Thriftshop, One Love and other Macklemore songs, this is definitely my favourite. It’s so uplifting and happy.

Iggy Azalea ‘Bounce’

Looking at the comments on this video, a lot of people seem to dislike it! But I like it purely because it makes me dance.

Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams ‘Get Lucky’

It’s a scientific fact that everything Pharrell touches is gold and this is no exception. Though the less said for Linda Martin’s cover, the better!

Mayer Hawthorne ‘Her Favourite Song’

I came across Mayer Hawthorne on a BuzzFeed article and just loved this song. Video is quite unique as well!

Miley Cyrus vs Sinead O Connor ‘Nothing Compared to Wrecking Ball’

There was no getting away from Miley Cyrus this year! I really liked this mash up of Wrecking Ball and Nothing Compares 2 U. I just think it’s beautiful and kinda haunting.


Top 5 Fiction Books

These were hard to choose, even after I picked them I kept wanting to change my mind. Some other books are rated higher in my Goodreads than some of these but I might have overlooked them as these books stuck out in my mind more or I liked how unique the story was.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

the book thief

This book made me cry! It follows the story of Liesel, a 9 year old in Nazi Germany who is sent to foster parents. The book is unique, as the narrator is Death, who tells Liesel’s story and how she grows and the relationships she forms in her new home.



Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes

mystery of mercy close

I hadn’t read any of Marian Keyes before 2013. I’ve read all the Walsh Family books, this one being my favourite. It follows Helen, the youngest of the Walsh sisters, her mental health problems, and her failing private detective business. Her ex-boyfriend approaches her for her help and Helen gets sucked into finding Laddz boyband member, who has disappeared before the Laddz big comeback tour. I was very pleased with how Keyes approached Helen’s story, and it definitely helped humanize her character.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith


 J.K. Rowling writing under a pseudonym, The Cuckoo’s Calling is about failing private detective (another one!) Cormoran Strike, down on luck in life. He’s asked to investigate the death of supermodel Luna Landry, 3 months after her death was ruled as suicide. Along with his newly appointed temporary secretary Robin, Strike is plunged into the world of the rich and famous as he tries to unravel the story. It was a bit slow to get going but once it did I was hooked and it made me realise I really do like detective/mystery novels. I’m looking forward to follow up.

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Rivers of london

This series had me hooked the second I started reading it. It begins with PC Grant, as he stands on duty during the night at the crime scene where a man has had his head knocked off his shoulders. While standing in the cold and dark, PC Grant talks to the only witness, a ghost. The book weaves a great magical realism story as PC Grant gets introduced to his new boss DCI Nightgale, who investigates crimes of a magical nature and just so happens to be a wizard. PC Grant must also try keep the peace between the God of the Thames and the Godness of the Thames, and their children. I loved the urban fantasy feel of the book and quickly read the other 3 books in the series too.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

ReadyPlayerOne RD 1 finals 2

Another book with an interesting idea, Ready Player One is set in 2044, a bleak world where most people spend their lives online in the OASIS, a virtual reality. The creator of OASIS died a few years previously and has left a series of clues and puzzles, steeped in 1980s pop culture references, throughout the OASIS and the first person to solve all these will win his fortune. Wade Watts discovers the first key and there’s sudden mad dash to be the first to solve these puzzles. I just loved the idea behind this and I really liked the characters.

Top 5 Non Fiction Books

I just couldn’t pick a Top 5 Books, it would have been too hard, hence why I separated it into fiction and non-fiction!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells the story of a poor Southern tobacco farmer in the 50s,Heriettia Lacks. While being treated for cervical cancer, Henrietta had some of her cells removed to be tested without her consent. From here they were discovered to be ‘immortal’, they never died off and HeLa cells were born. They have been one of the most important discoveries for science and the book tells how they have been used in science. But more importantly Rebecca Skloot works together with the Lacks family to try and tell the unknown story of Henrietta’s life and how it has affected her family. I found it very interesting and I couldn’t help but feel for the Lacks family, who can’t even afford to go to see a doctor when sick while companies make millions off their mother’s cells.

Lost at Sea by Jon Ronson

lost at sea

While I read other Ronson books this year (The Pyschopath Test and Them, both I recommend), I probably liked Lost At Sea best, a collection of essays and articles, spanning a wide range of topics. First topic is behind the scenes of Deal or No Deal, which I just found fascinating!



Quiet by Susan Cain


This book is about introverts, how to interact with introverts, and how sometimes introverts approach things differently to extroverts. As an introvert myself, I loved the book, there were bits of information that really clicked with me and made me realise different things about myself.


Walk the Lines: The London Underground, Overground by Mark Mason

walk the lines

I was dying to read this for ages and was so glad to get my hands on it! Mason decides to walk each line of the Underground. If you’re interested in books about the Underground, London or epic quests, then you should enjoy this. I’m looking forward to his other book about bussing it from Lands End to John O’Groats.


Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones

jim henson

One of two audiobooks I listened to this year, this book is a very in depth look into the life of the extraordinary Jim Henson. Sometimes there seems like just a little bit too much information but with interviews from all that were close to Henson, it’s definitely a must read if you’re a Henson, Muppets or Sesame Street fan. It made me smile so much listening to it. Bonus to listening to it too was that that narrator did great accents and impressions and seemed to add to the book.

Top 5 TV Shows

1. Sherlock

Yes, I was late to the party but boy what a party! Love it so much, made my boyfriend rewatch the series with me and he’s hooked too. We have last episode of Season 2 to watch and then on to the new episode. I can not wait!

2. Orange is the New Black

So funny, love that it’s mainly females, such a diverse cast (Laverne Cox is amazing) and I’m just so excited for it to return!

3. Game of Thrones

Another one I was late too but again, I got hooked. Feels like I’ve been waiting forever for it to return on screen!

4. House of Cards

Another Netflix original, one that I found a bit slow during first few episodes but once it got started I found it gripping. New series back in February!

5. Arrested Development/Luther

Ok, I actually can’t decide between these two. Let me point out I do not mean the new series of AD, I didn’t actually finish it. But it was my first time watching the series and oh how it made me laugh out loud so much! Luther is right up my alley as well, I loved detective/police shows like CSI and Lie to Me and it was a great series.


No films, I only seem to have made it to cinema 5 times this year, with 2 of those being old releases (Labyrinth and Die Hard).

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2014 is good to you. I’m not sure how well I did with my 2013 resolutions, I’ve barely looked at them. I spent more effort I think with my Reading Resolutions! But I decided to try again this year, to try and give myself a bit more focus.

1. Be more healthy

I really need to put a bigger effort into this. 2013 was a hard year as it saw both my parents fall ill and it’s really reminded me that I’m getting older and need to put in a bigger effort with eating well, exercising and taking care of my mental health.

2. Find a job

Easier said than done! But now that I’m living in a new country, in an urban area, there should be much bigger scope and opportunities for me. I just need to buckle down and find something while I try figure out what I want to do with my life.

3. Be more creative

I have a large stash of crafty stuff yet sometimes I’m afraid to use it. You see, in my head I’m really creative and great at crafting but in reality I’m not that good at it. So I’m always afraid to ruin pretty fabrics and materials. I need to stop being afraid and just learn to enjoy the process more, even if my end results end up more pin fail than Pinterest.

4. Try and get out of the house more

I’m pretty introverted and when I’m in a bad place with my anxiety, I can tend to hibernate and stay indoors a lot. I want to get out and about more, be it just ten minutes walking or doing things at weekend, like museums and events.

5. Blog more

Yes, one that happens every year so it seems, but I want to blog a bit more regularly.

6. Learn a new skill

I say this every year but it rarely happens. Not sure what it will be yet but hopefully something will stand out. I still don’t know how to crochet, someone teach me!

7. Keep in contact more with friends

I can be terrible at this but since moving away I’ve gotten a bit worse, so I need to step this up a bit.

8. Try new cooking and baking recipes

Again, I do this most years. I’m not setting any real goals here but I pin tons of things on Pinterest and I need to start trying more

9. Be a bit more organized

Try and keep on top of time management, keeping the house clean and keeping things uncluttered. After having to pack up a whole house, I’ve learned (yet again) I’m a real pack rat, such a hoarder, and I need to keep on top of this in the new apartment.

That’s it! Yes, there’s a few things, but hopefully I’ll be able to work away at these over the year. I don’t expect miracles or anything to happen overnight, but if I revisit this least every now and again, hopefully I’ll be able to improve a small bit in all these areas.

Do you have any resolutions?

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