Friday, February 28, 2014

February Recap

I thought it would be nice to do a recap post each month, I’m not sure if I’ll keep it up, so we’ll see how it goes!
February was a month of…

Doing- Touristy stuff! My brother came up from London to visit me here and we did a few touristy things around Manchester. We went to a Manchester Phoenix hockey game, went to a live recording of a TV show (Ejector Seat, starts April I think?) and visited the Museum of Science and Industry.


Eating- Baltimore Pull Apart bread. Yum yum! My favourite thing I’ve eaten this month I think. I will have the recipe up at some stage but you can click on the link to get it from the stuffed grapes blog.

Crafting- I made this memory jar and also painted a small canvas painting for my boyfriend for Valentine’s Day. Again, I’ll probably post these up in a later post.

Listening- I’ve mainly spent February listening to Pharrell’s song Happy. I love it so much, fingers crossed it wins the Oscar for Best Original Song!

Watching- House of Cards. What else would people be watching this month?! I’ve only got 2 episodes left to watch, I’m almost scared to watch them as I don’t want it all to end! I also saw the Lego Movie too and loved it, laughed my way through it.

Playing- Spell Quest. I love my app games, especially words and spelling ones and when I saw this on VSauce3’s App All Knight video I know I had to give it a try. I was actually up all night playing this the first time, it was addictive. In this game you play Grim you must defeat monsters by spelling words from a grid and zapping their energy. The longer the word and the more higher earning tiles you use, the more you’ll zap their energy. It gets harder as you go along and they can drain your energy too but I was determine to beat those feckers! I gained all my 1 stars, after you’ve done that, you go back over the levels twice more, once in a timed mission to spell words and defeat them and a third time there’s challenges, like only words with Ts will do any damage. It’s a fun cute game.
Picture from Cult of Mac

Loving- Doing my nails again! It had been a while and I definitely got back into the swing of things for Valentine’s Day. Click this link to see all my nail related posts.
nail Collage

Laughing- Over this picture and whole idea! So funny.

And that’s it! We’ll see what March brings us tomorrow. How was your February?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Netflix Chickflix (Or Why I Have the Worst Taste in Films)

netflix chickflix2

This has been something I’ve been meaning to write for a long time. A whole year in fact. December 2012 I joined Netflix for the trial month and when January rolled around and I had forgotten to cancel my subscription and was charged, I thought ‘You can be damn sure I’m making the most of this month and watching the shit out of stuff!’ as I wanted value in money before cancelling. I still haven’t cancelled. As, of course, I got hooked on Netflix, just like everyone who signed up for that free trial.

Now, of course I watch good things on there. I loved House of Cards when it first came out and I’m almost finished this new series. I was also early on the Orange is the New Black train and I can not wait for the new series of that to be released. I like to watch documentaries and I’m impressed with the selection of foreign films on there. I’ve even watched a few episodes of Pingu for nostalgia’s sake and speaking of nostalgia, to the best of my knowledge the original Power Rangers’ series is on there and I WILL be watching that. But the main reason I love Netflix is become of the vast abundance of crappy chick flick films.

It all started that January when I was determined to watch stuff. But I didn’t want anything taxing, so I switched on From Prada to Nada, a film where two rich girls lose everything and are forced to get back to their roots and learn the true meaning of things. Apparently it’s a Latina spin of Sense and Sensibility. I enjoyed it for what it was worth. But then, the flood gates opened. Next time I logged into Netflix, I was got ‘Here’s some recommendations because you watched From Prada to Nada. 26 film recommendations. And I watched every single trailer on YouTube. Here are my stats from that

Obviously not all of them, just a snapshot of some of the films. Some of them I don’t think I’d ever go gravitate towards, not when I can watch some Bring It On films. I’ve watched 3 in the past week and a half, as well as some other teenage films I’d never seen before like She’s All That. In fact, I’d probably prefer these kind of films of chick flicks ones! Though I don’t think I’ll ever give up on these films, they are just too fun. Where else can you watch a film containing Sabrina the Teenage Witch and AC Slater from Saved by the Bell (Holiday in Handcuffs, in case you are interested)? Even if it does get me headshakes and ‘I can’t believe how bad your taste is’ reactions when I tell people I’ve recently watched them. Not that I care, no such thing as a guilty pleasure, am I right?! And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with chick flicks, or chick lit or anything like that. Some of my favourite films and books come under these heading (love the Bridget Jones’ Diary film, it always cracks me up). Though you have to admit some of these DO look terrible (Bad Girls of Valley High, I’m looking at you!) and I am wary of some (Dirty Dancing 2 particularly, for some reason, in my mind it has a Grease 2 stigma attached to it).

What films do you enjoy watching, especially if you just want to unwind, relax and not think of much? Do you have any ‘guilty pleasures’? Let me know in the comments below!

PS If you are wondering why the top of the Labor Pains poster looks a bit wonky and odd in the picture at the top of the page, it’s because when I went to write Click Flix in, my pen did a squiggle without me noticing before I saved it. It looked like a penis. I debated whether or not to leave it in like that but decided I’m not Perez Hilton and had to try and fill back in the colour. I got too lazy when it came to making that edge straight!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Anti-Valentine’s Day Nails

Oh dear, it is very windy out! Hope everyone is safe while these storms rage on. And while I said yesterday that today was my last Valentine’s look, really it’s an anti-Valentine’s look. For all those who don’t care or think love stinks!


Shiny topcoat


Matt topcoat

I’m not sure which one I prefer, I like them both! And it’s a simple look to do. Simply paint on a black background (I used Nails Inc in New York Noir, a Kate Spade edition that came free with Glamour magazine). Once dry, paint on some pink hearts (I used 17 in Miami) and then doodle on whatever you want (I used Barry M Nail Art Pen in Black). Finish with whatever topcoat you like for your desired effect.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine’s Grey with Hearts Nails

Almost getting to the end of the Valentine’s nail looks! Tomorrow is the last one. After trying out all these looks, I don’t even know if I’ll do my nails for Valentine’s Day! I probably will but maybe nothing as fancy.


I wanted to do another heart look, this time with different coloured hearts on a light background. I chose a light grey (Catrice in Sing: Hey Dirty Lilah). For the hearts I used Sinful Colors in Flutter , Mavala in London, Catrice in Take Me To Coral Island, NYC in Lincoln Square Lavender and 17 in Miami. As you can see, my heart drawing skillz leave a lot to be desired, but I’m getting better at it!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Valentine’s Nude Lace Hearts Nails

My 3rd Valentine’s nails look. With the amount of looks I’ve been trying out, my nails are probably hating me right now! This is like the equivalent of waiting for a bus for me, don’t feel like painting my nails for months and then all of a sudden it’s like


Ahem. Anyway, back to today’s look.



Ok, some of them are a bit wonky, I know that! But not too bad for a first try, if I do say so myself. I was inspired by these Lace Half-Moon Nails from Chalkboard Nails. Here’s how I did them

1. Start off with a base coat to protect your nails.

2. Paint your nails a nude colour. I used Nails Inc in Basil Street. Apply enough coats until you’re satisfied and allow to dry completely.

3. Paint nails with a matt top coat. I used the Essence one. This step isn’t essential, though like I said back in the Chalkboard Nails tutorial, I find it much easier to write over a matt surface.

4. Once matt coat is dry, draw your design! I start with a heart, then did the loops and ended with adding the dots. You can do whatever you want, you can fill in the hearts with more swirls and lines if you wish. I wanted mine simplistic though. I used Barry M Nail Art Pen in White to draw my designs.

5. Finally you can add a top coat if you wish. I didn’t because I really like the shiny finish of the white against the matt nude, which actually kinda shined up a bit by the next day. Only downside is your nails will fade a bit, like you can see on my thumb above. If you do apply a topcoat (shiny or matt, it’s up to you), do make sure white is completely dry and you don’t use too many strokes, otherwise the lace will smudge and streak.

I really like how these turn out, they may not be perfect but they still make me smile! I think they’re a great subtle look for Valentine’s Day, if you don’t want to wear something red or pink.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Valentine’s Aqua with Coral Hearts Nails

Another Valentine’s nail post! Not sure how many others of these I’ll have, but there will be at least one more after this, with the possibility of one or two others. It all depends on how they turn out! Here’s today’s Aqua with Coral Hearts


Ok, some of the hearts are a bit ‘squishy’! I tried making the hearts using the top of a bobby pin as a dotting tool but I really didn’t like how they turned out. By the time I got to the thumb (I always start at baby finger), I used a nail brush and was kicking myself at how much easier it was to draw hearts. I filled in some of the gaps in the rest of the nails, which you can probably notice as they don’t come up off the nail as much. I have fallen back in love with the heart colour, Catrice in Meet Me at Coral Island, which I used in the Maybelline Color Show Street Artist swatches and my last Valentine’s nail look, Chalkboard Nails. I had originally planned on using it with NYC in Water Street Blue but when using the China Glaze in For Audrey in the Chalkboard Nails, I knew these colours would look great together. But I think red and pink would look great with For Audrey, so I did a few different colours on the thumb to show you.


Sorry for the smudging, I was losing a fight battle trying out a second design on my right hand and it clearly smudged and I didn’t notice. Anyway, the red used is Mavala in London and the pink is 17 Supreme Shine in Miami.

So far this is my favourite look, it’s fun and bright. Though I love all the ideas in my head, I’m not sure what I’ll actually pick for this coming Friday!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Valentine’s Chalkboard Nails

I should have had this up the other day but some how it slipped my mind. Never mind though, there’s still plenty of time until Valentine’s Day! Last summer when Ciate brought out their chalkboard nails kit, I tried to DIY it myself and it worked relatively well. Not sure why I didn’t blog about it though! So when I was planning on my Valentine’s nail ideas (yes, I sat down and planned out ideas!) chalkboard nails came back to me and I thought I’d try them again. Here’s the results





Here’s how I did it

1. First apply a base coat. It’ll help keep that black from staining!

2. Apply black of your choice. I used Nails Inc in New York Noir (Kate Spade special edition that was sold with Glamour magazine end of 2013). Let it dry completely. If you need a second coat, apply and let dry (though in my opinion, a good black polish is one that only needs one coat).

3. Apply matt top coat of your choice. I used the Essence one. Now, you might debate if this step is needed, seeing as at the end you will need to top again with a matt top coat to finish the look. Indeed, you could skip this step. I like to use the matt top coat here, as first off it’s actually like drawing on a chalkboard then. And secondly, I find it much easier to nail art on a matt polish, especially when writing stuff and using a nail art pen instead of a striping brush.

4. Once matt coat is dry, you can doodle to your hearts content! It’s up to you what you use. As you see here though, use brighter polishes, they turn out much better. Anything too pastel and wishy washy will need a second coat to bring out the colour, which is fine but can be a pain. Anything too dark and you won’t be able to see it too well, I learnt above.

5. Allow to dry and then top again with matt top coat. Be careful doing this, try not to use too many brush strokes as you may end up smudging it.

Polishes Used

Baby finger- Barry M Nail Art Pen in White

Ring Finger- Catrice in Wrapped Around My Finger

Middle Finger- Angelica in Palma Violet

Index Finger- China Glaze in For Audrey and NYC in Water Street Blue

Thumb- Catrice in Meet Me At Coral Island and Barry M Nail Art Pen in White

I was originally going to stamp a heart in the place of Love, but then on my stamping plate there was Love so I tried that and failed, so I just used a brush to write it out instead. And as you can see the U smudged a bit but it’s not too bad. Overall though I’m happy with how this turned out!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Maybelline Color Show Street Artist Top Coat Collection

I’m a bit of a sucker for these collections Maybelline bring out. There’s always at least one I want (more often nearly all). I loved the Polka Dots Collection, the Brocades over Christmas was lovely (I bought the Knitted Gold one thanks to Lovely Girlies Bits) and now they have this Street Artist Top Coat collection out, as well as the Stripped Nudes collection (I bought one shade, Bronze It Up, during my recent haul). I couldn’t resist buying all of these though, they looked so fun and interesting.


Left to right: Boom Box Black, Alley Attitude, Urban Vibe, White Splatter

maybellinecolorshowstreetartist maybellinecolorshowstreetartist

Close ups of Boom Box Back and Alley Attitude

maybellinecolorshowstreetartist maybellinecolorshowstreetartist

Close ups of Urban Vibe and White Splatter



White Splatter has white hexagons, dots and large strands, as well as turquoise and purple dots and hexagons. Shown here over Revlon in Minted

Boom Box Black has bright green green hexagons, dots and small strands with black hexagons and dots. Shown here over NYC in Water Street Blue

Urban Vibe has orange hexagons, dots and small strands, with black dots and hexagons. Shown here over Revlon in Sassy

Alley Attitude has bright blue hexagons, dots and small strands, with black dots and hexagons. Shown here over Catrice in Meet Me At Coral Island

They are quite similar, the Boom Box Black and Alley Attitude are the exact same but with different colours. The Urban Vibe differs slightly to them with large black hexagons. And White Splatter doesn’t seem to be packed as tightly as the others, has no black and has large strands. My favourite is probably Urban Vibe. I especially love it over this neon green, once I had applied it I thought ‘This is like Nickelodean in nail form!’. I also LOVE the colour pairing of Alley Attitude and Meet Me At Coral Island. I’m definitely planning another look based off these colours.

Of course, just like the Polka Dots Collection, there are different colours available in the US. Including a light pink, a red and a darker blue (they have the light blue and green ones with different names). And just like the Polka Dots Collection, I want them too! There’s some shots of the bottles over at Lacq Lustre.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

January Reads 2014

I was writing yesterday’s post when I realised that it was the last day in January! So I decided seeing as I was on a roll, I’d continue on and do my January Reads list. I managed to get 10 books finished this month. Probably would have been 11 if I put the gas down on reading one particular book but even though I’m almost finished it, I just not inspired to pick it up right now. I will finish it though, no worries there!

January Reads

Bizarre London: Discover the Capital’s Secrets and Disguises by David Long


I bought this on Amazon during a big Kindle sale. I was delighted, as I had debated days earlier buying this in the airport for much, much more money. I like fact books like this about London, they’re always fun and I always learn something new. Like the Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy, which is situated off the Strand, belongs not to London Diocese but to the Queen herself. It’s her own personal church. And that the Eros statue at Piccadilly depicts not Eros but his brother Anteros, the Greek god of requited love.


Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger


I bought this book back in the summer thanks to the suggestion from Brandy over at The H House but never got around to it til now. It’s set in Victorian times and has a steampunk vibe to it, which is great. Sophronia is driving her mother crazy with her unlady like behavior, so she decides to send her to a finishing school. However, this is no ordinary finishing school. For one, it floats! It’s set in a giant floating airship. Also, while the girls do learn how to finish properly and all that comes with that, it is also a school for espionage and the girls there learn how to spy and kill, all while being ladylike of course. With vampires and werewolves being characters in this world, there’s an added bit of fantasy. It’s a light quick Young Adult book, nothing too serious but definitely fun!

Vivien’s Heavenly Ice Cream Shop by Abby Clements


I picked this up during the summer for under £2 and while I definitely should have read it then, it was nice to have something summery to read during winter! Imogen and Anna unexpectedly inherit their grandmother’s run down Brighton ice cream shop and decide to try jazz it up and make it a success again. The book follows their summer of ups and downs, along with their family, love life and other problems. It’s fairly predictable but it didn’t make me enjoy it any less. I could imagine how to place looked and longed to visit (ok own) somewhere like that!

Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

penumbra cover

My brother kindly got me this book for my birthday last year, I just love the cover. The book is about Clay, who gets a job on the late night shift at Mr Penumbra’s, a strange book store where there are very few customers and the ones who do come in during the night shift are strange and only ever borrow strange, dusty books. Clay gets curious about what are inside these books and decides to investigate. This book is a mixture of old school books and new technology and computers and features Google. It was definitely fun and definitely something new. It kept my attention and is well worth a read.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


Despite being one of the most popular YA books, both the Irish libraries I used to go to and the English libraries I go to now don’t have this. It baffles me! So I caved and got the e-book. Cath and Wren are twins and big Simon Snow fans. And I mean big! They love the books, the films, hanging out on Simon Snow forums and writing Simon Snow fanfic. However when it’s time to move to college, Wren decides she doesn’t want to room with Cath. So Cath is left to room with a stranger and must watch her sister make a new best friend. Cath decides to throw herself in writing more Simon Snow fanfic and avoiding the world. However, Cath finds her world changing due to her roommate and her smiley boyfriend, worrying about her dad and getting close to one of her fiction writing classmates. Life becomes for complicated for Cath, who most try to deal with all this without the help of her sister. I found this book charming, I really liked it! I liked seeing Cath’s growth throughout the book and the Harry Potter doppelganger world (Simon Snow) really tickled me.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins


Another really popular YA book yet the only copy I could find in the library was in Polish. Anna’s father has decided to ship Anna off to an American school in Paris for her final year, something Anna is not too impressed about. However, she slowly warms up to Paris, thanks to all the cinemas showing older films, the charms of the city and a certain Etienne St.Clair, who she finds herself falling for despite his long term girlfriend. It’s a very cute romantic YA book that I really enjoyed and could see myself reading in the future when I want something quick, fun and romantic. It definitely lived up to the hype for me.

Drunk Tank Pink by Adam Alter


After reading so much fiction, I needed a nonfiction break! So I picked up this book, which I’ve had since September (sensing a theme here?). It’s about how the subconscious and subtle cues in our lives shape how we think. The title comes from a shade a pink that was found to make people calmer, first discovered after painting a cell in a jail pink and studying the effects it had on criminals. In fact, that story is the reason my mother chose a dusky rose colour for my bedroom growing up, she thought it would have a calming influence over me and my sister sharing a room!

Move Along, Please: Land’s End to John O’ Groats by Local Bus by Mark Mason


I read Mason’s other book, Walk the Lines, about walking the London Underground lines overground back in October and I liked it so much I decided to give this one a go. It didn’t disappoint, it was both interesting and funny, I found myself laughing out loud at points. The title is pretty self explanitory. Mason decides to make the famous Land’s End to John O’Groats trip using only local buses, going from one bus to the next. We hear about all the towns and cities he passes through as he makes his way along as well as people watching, seeing the locals go about their business. I hope he does another travel book as I’m really enjoying these and the fact that they’re set in UK.

The Tao of Martha by Jen Lancaster


Still on a nonfiction kick! I decided to read this to break up the other nonfiction book I started after Move Along, Please. It’s the latest memoir from Jen Lancaster, who’s decided that she needs to try get back on track with herself after a rough year and who better to emulate but Martha Stewart. In the book, Lancaster decides to take on projects like organization, cooking, crafting, decorating and gardening with the guidance of Martha. There’s a lot about Jen’s pets in this book, which as I’m not an animal fanatic I wasn’t too crazy by how much mention they get but I did shed a tear when her beloved pit bull Maisy passed away (I’m not a monster!). This book had a slightly different feel to her other memoirs, probably because there’s no footnotes (which I missed) and added photos (which I liked). I did like the book, I enjoy Lancaster’s style of writing and find myself chuckling along in places.

Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Garriger


The next book in The Finishing School series, following Sophronia at the Finishing and Espionage school abroad an airship. More lessons on how to act the lady and more lessons on how to be a better spy! I enjoyed this one as well, I like the steampunky vibe to the series and the idea of looking like a proper lady but being badass at the same time. I’m looking forward to the next book, which should be out later this year, so it’ll go on the list of books I’m anticipating the release of, like these other ones listed in a previous post.

January Stats

Number of Books Read- 10
Ratio Fiction to non-fiction- 6:4
Books borrowed from library- 1
Number of eBooks- 5
Number of books from Reading Resolutions- 1 (I read 4 books I already owned before 2014)

And that’s it! I have a few in mind for next month, some I have out from the library and some other YA books I’ve been wanting to read (they’re like my reading version of comfort food!). I will also get a start on reading more diversely next month, I have a few authors and books in mind. And I also want to read at least one Irish author I haven’t read before, in the build up to Paddy’s Day! Do suggest your favourite Irish authors and books build and I might check them out.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...