This time last year I declared my New Years motto as it were, "Febuary is the new January" and once again, a year on, I stand by this belief. January is too often branded the month of new beginnings but no matter when you decide to start doing something new or making an improvement it is never too late. This year, and this somewhat lost January for want of a better phrase was out of my control. I had planned to make a few adjustments, do the New Year clean and clear out of my wardrobe yada yada, all those types of things. I'm well known in my family for being "the messy one" but as a creative (my fellow artistic hoarders will agree) I believe it to always be an organised mess. When I get stressed or feel like I've lots to do I enjoy nothing more than having a major clean up.
I started January full of excitement to get through that to do list and looked forward to an exciting little girls trip to Prague with two of my closest friends. My plans have been somewhat scuppered by a rather nasty chest infection of late. I did get to Prague thankfully and despite having to miss out on some of the fun adventures, instead opting for the hotel bed, it was undoubtedly a stunningly beautiful place. The day I was able to venture out for a few hours it snowed and was such a magical place. I am a little gutted I wasn't able to enjoy it in full but as always it was lovely to spend time with my besties and I'm sure I will visit again.
On return I was completely wiped out and exhausted and retired to my sick bed and very uncharacteristically even had to take some time off work to recover. It's so strange to me, as someone that has never taken a single day off work sick to have my body feel like it is failing me and after more than 2 weeks it still didn't seem to be improving despite my efforts. Anyhow I am feeling better but if you are under the weather I really feel for you it totally messes up your plans, I'm so thankful it wasn't anything more serious.
Now that I am on the mend I seem to be well behind on my list of to do's and it is time to recoup the few weeks I've been MIA. I've realised that sometimes things just have to be put on the back burner. I love giving myself tasks but sometimes you just have to admit defeat and when you are back to full power just pick up where you left off and start again. It's so easy as someone that often stresses to let everything get ontop of you but it will take as long as it will take. With this, in usual form, I am beginning with a cleanse of my makeup trolley. I know it's ridiculous to some but this is genuinely what makes me feel back on track! I'd love to know what things you do to make you feel back on track?! As I said last year, Febuary is the new January and so it will continue to be so! Maybe next year I'll be more organised but we will see...
Every year we all make the same promises to ourselves, basically to become a whole new person in the year ahead. I do it myself, I always try and make changes in the coming year and while I maintain having a "to do" list is one of life's great joys (lists are kind of my thing) I think sometimes we need to stop telling ourselves to be a completely different person but appreciate what we already are, the things you have done already alongside the things you have yet to achieve, appreciate the qualities you like in yourself alongside the things you want to improve on. Goodness knows there are plenty of things I would change about myself but as a person, I'm pretty happy with my lot.While I still have a list of things I want to achieve next year I think it's all too easy to forget what you have already done to get to where you are. I suppose we shouldn't neglect to appreciate the steps we have taken and evaluate what was done in the year gone by. My thoughts are thankful ones. While I feel like the past year has flown past me and as if I have done nothing much I'm reminded that I actually have ticked off a few things I really wanted to do. This blog being one of them. Starting this blog has been something I had been meaning to do and because I was unsure and to be truthful a little scared I had put it off so many times before but 2015 was my time to start, I still have a long way to go but it's up and running. Another goal of 2015 was to set up my Youtube channel, filming videos and posting them to the world and while I haven't really advertised the fact, I have actually been doing it! I haven't told many people in truth I was far too embarrassed to tell everyone but I have got to the stage where I don't mind anymore, it is what it is, maybe in 2016 I will announce it properly but at least I have at last begun.Two other changes I made in 2015 that I am really grateful for are that I moved out with my boyfriend in February, so far both of us are still alive and with minimal arguments (my friends and family will be surprised to know) and I have just loved it, while I miss my family home I love having my own space and my own studio room to create and film videos, design dresses and generally surround myself with pretty things. And the last achievement of sorts of 2015 was my absolute favourite, I finally got myself a little buddy in the form of a French Bulldog. Jax, a little grey puppy has been a total joy and is firmly part of our family. He was well worth my sister and I travelling thousands of miles in the space of 24hrs to get him, thanks again Nicole I know not everyone has crazy siblings and parents like I do.My point really is that I am thankful. While most will be waving 2015 a fond farewell I will be thanking it for the steps forward it allowed me. For the friends it brought me and for the family it surrounded me with. I look forward to the new year ahead, the next steps I will take and all it will bring. But a new year, new me? No thanks, I'm lucky as I am! Happy new year, I hope it's a good one. Im off to celebrate in style, mainly watching youtube in a onesie and drinking a cup of tea, perhaps dye my hair...start as you mean to go on eh?
Oh dear it's that time again when we have a desperate last minute dash around the shops for something, anything to wear for the long awaited Christmas party. Every year is the same, well before the season even begins we think to ourselves this year will be different, organised and well planned out. But no. It never, EVER is. I personally hold the shops responsible because I have found that there hasn't been much in the way of choice on the highstreet. Everything is too short, too small, too oversized or even worse, cropped! But sure what would Christmas be without all the rushing around for that perfect Christmas outfit? This year I will not be worrying myself over it all, but instead just enjoying all the festivities. It all goes so quickly and life is too short to stress out about what colour of lipstick to wear! Speaking of makeup, I've really been feeling like trying out something I would usually shudder at the thought of, glitter. I've noticed a lot of people and friends really embracing glitter eyeliner recently and I think I may try it out for myself... I'll let you know if I end up looking like a glitter pro or someone that's spilt a pot of glitter glue on my face!
I realise that a lot of the things I often talk about here on the blog are the materialistic aesthetically pleasing purchases, surplus to requirement. I do love shopping and of course buying for others but giving to others, especially at this time of year is something I have always considered very important. I don't mean the things that will be under my tree for my family members this year, I mean giving to those in need. Those people that haven't got the blessing of having a family or a home or anything to eat or anywhere to sleep this Christmas. I appreciate that this isn't a seasonal issue, homelessness and poverty go on 365 days a year but there is something about the family festivities that make me think of those that aren't as fortunate.I know that times can be tough for a lot of people at this time of year but the price of a cup of coffee could be the difference between someone else having something to eat in a day, longer even. While I love this time of year it also fills me with a great sadness for those that aren't as lucky. I have an amazing family, partner and friends and while I will be spending my day and the weeks leading up to the big day with them, there will be so many out in the freezing cold on the streets alone, without anything to eat or anything to open, without any reason to be excited for Christmas at all.There is so much that we can all do to help, even in a small way. Every year there are box appeals for those in need or on the streets, opportunities to volunteer, food bank collections and gift drop off points. I read about so many ways to help and while we can't all do everything the smallest kindness goes a long way! While I'm out shopping for my nearest and dearest I always pick up a few extras, even just one little gift can make someones day. Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda and lots of other shops have drop off points and places to donate gifts or food in the lead up to Christmas while local food banks are open all year round. It's just an idea but one that means a lot and in reality takes very little effort when you think of all the excesses of Christmas. I just think we should all be a little more kind to each other, not everyone is as fortunate and that's particularly touching at Christmas. It's as simple as googling your local drop off point or picking up an extra gift, jumper or packet of biscuits. It really should be the season of giving and we can all make that happen!
There is a serious chill in the air which admittedly while makes those 6AM work wakeups all the more difficult, it does however make my wednesday morning coffee work treat all the more enjoyable. Christmas is creeping around the corner and to kick started my launch into festivity I went on a little shopping trip to Dublin, while the Christmas decorations in the city weren't as obvious as I would have liked it was still a great day out shopping, chatting and coffee-ing. I was on the hunt for a festive duvet cover which I had been searching for to no avail for a few weeks now but went home without, I did however manage to purchase a plethora of items I could probably do without but that's what a shopping trip is for! I didn't pick up much for others but it atleast got me in the right frame of mind to get serious about what I've still to get for gifts. It feels like yesterday I was thinking I should wait a little longer to start buying and now I feel my time is running out! I really must sit down and look through what I have and what I still need but no doubt I will continue to buy right up until Christmas Eve!Being a few days from the beginning of December I thought I should also get serious with my Christmas decor search, being our first Christmas in our own place we have the excitement of starting afresh and gathering our own little decorations which I think makes the shopping more than justified... for once. My parents have always been super into Christmas decorations, my dad has always gone above and beyond with the lights, decorations while my mum had the cinnamon candles and baked good down so it was to be expected that I would want to recreate a winter wonderland in my own home. I couldn't wait to choose my own things and once I had finished my shopping I sat down to look at all my acquisitions only to realise I had inherited my parents obsession with stag and reindeer decorations. I have yet to put my decor up, I'm saving that for a nice relaxing sunday perhaps but it does fill me with a festive joy looking at all my purchases sitting in a little glitzy collection, currently undestroyed by our french bulldog, let's see how long that lasts!I hope your Christmas gift hunting is going well, being the Eve of December I am feeling the festive spirit and can't wait to spend the next month surrounded by fairy lights and Christmas candles.
So as most of you know I often dye my hair! For over a year I have been experimenting with my hair colours, while my hair experiments go further back than that, in the last year I have been more adventurous than usual going through various shades, tones and many many bottles of bleach, colour and conditioners. I am a natural brunette although it feels like I almost can't remember what I even look like without some random colour on top of my head! My ventures into colour started long ago with various stints into streaks, vibrant sections and then August last year I took the drastic step of bleaching my hair all over! For a long time I had wanted to go pastel so on a week off from work I took the plunge, as with most things I get the notion to do something and out of boredom decide instantaneously to do it!So I recently decided that after over a year I wanted to go back to brunette. For the past month I have been letting my roots grow out and have changed for a deeper shade rather than pastel in order to let my hair have some breathing space from all the bleach I was using. As with all bleach it does damage your hair, especially after a years worth! So while growing out my roots and because of the time of year I have decided to just go back to brunette again or atleast attempt to! I just think there is something about the Christmas season (I know, I used the "C" word in November...) that makes me miss my dark brunette hair and my boyfriend will be pleased as the bathroom may no longer be covered in pink and purple dye! But don't fear, I plan to use a semi-permanent colour incase I change my mind again in the new year...which is highly likely.I do however have some reservations about it, I've grown pretty attached to my coloured locks and while it can be a pain to maintain I also quite enjoy the actual dying process as well as the option to change up the colour whenever I feel like it. I also feel like having a fun colour makes my day so much more bright and vibrant so we will see how I get on! Incase any of you were interested I will include a few snaps of my hair colours through the past year (not all the shades and tones...there just isn't enough space on the page). Wish me luck...I'm off to get my dye on!
I have to say with each passing season I usually find myself looking forward to the next season and all that it brings, never so much as I have with this summer. While I spent most of spring looking forward to the delightful sunny summer days to come, I waited and I waited and they just never seemed to arrive! So truth be told half way through our so called summer I got to hoping that the leaves would finally start falling.Being into the more spooky and darker type things occasionally, I really look forward to halloween. It's the perfect opportunity to try out more dramatic makeup looks , dark lips and go even heavier with the eyeliner! I have to say this year I have been a little behind on getting hit with the spooky excitement of halloween only for my friend being totally obsessed it finally got me while out shopping (as always). Nothing like a little retail therapy to get my creativity going. So after picking up lots of pumpkin lights, skull ornaments, a little doggy bat outfit for my french bulldog...don't judge me and the obligatory pound land bargains it has finally hit me!This month has been a pretty busy one and while I spent most of it looking forward to Halloween night I'm actually not all together sure what I'm even doing! No doubt it will involve a few drinks with my best friend but with 6 days to go I better get it together soon! On that note I'm off to brunch to discuss this years outfit!
I begin firstly by saying that this is not a motivational post about what to do with your life when it hands you lemons, goodness knows if you have any advice for me I would be grateful! no, it is a more literal take on the phrase, this post is a simple and sweet recipe for home made lemonade!My lovely sister and wife invited me for a BBQ, granted the weather was terrible but to make things feel a little more summery I wanted to make some lemonade and I'm so glad I did! It was so zesty, refreshing and incredibly simple to make so I thought I would share it with you all. There isn't much to it in truth, three ingredients;1 cup caster sugar1 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 9 lemons)3 cups waterSo these measurements aren't set in stone, you may need a little more or less sugar depending on how large the lemons are. Firstly place your cup of sugar in a bowl and add a cup of boiling water to it, mix until the sugar dissolves. Squeeze your lemons into a bowl until you've just over a cup. A top tip is to chuck your whole lemons into a microwave for a few seconds until they warm up a little and before you juice them roll them to help release the juice which makes them easier to squeeze. Fill a jug with ice, add your sugar water, lemon juice and another two 2 cups of water and that's it! Easy peasey lemon squeezy!If you wanted another cool down treat you could always put the mixture into ice lolly moulds and freeze to make amazing lemony lollies or for a boozey alternative a splash of vodka would make a lovely icey lemon cocktail. Whatever your taste I hope you give it a go, it's a little bit of sunshine in an otherwise pretty dull summer so far!
After a long wait for summer to arrive I already feel like it is beginning to fade so I was excited when I remembered my upcoming trip to Dublin. While the call of a sunnier destination would have been delightful, a recent doggy addition to our family has put expensive holidays on hold for a while, never the less, a change of scenery was definitely needed and Dublin seemed perfect.As always train journeys can be a little tedious but recently a friend had given me this book by Lena Dunham, not normally a reader if truth be told, but considering the publicity and my unavoidable long journey ahead I thought I might as well make use of the opportunity and make a start. I have to say I am very glad I did! It definitely won't be for everyone but her dry wit and bold confessions of the female mind were, dare I say it, a nice change from the usual Romeo and Juliet type so called "girl novels". As expected our journey was delayed a few hours due to our train breaking down but I was grateful for a little while longer to quietly flick through the pages of Lena's life. I have yet to finish it but when I do I'll be sure to do a review on it.We finally arrive in Dublin and the weather is gorgeous! It's one of those rare occasions that you have been lucky to choose the right day for a trip and as a result the day, regardless of any delays, is just perfect. With the weather being so nice over the weekend it was a perfect excuse to stop along the way and get in as many iced lattes and iced teas as possible. My personal favourite is the iced Tea from Bewleys.The weekend was full of shopping and of course eating, the number one place I love to go when I'm in Dublin is a place called Lolly and Cooks which is located at Georges St Arcade or they have a few sit-in Cafes dotted around the city. This place have the most delicious cupcakes I think I have ever eaten, yes, ever eaten! And that is high praise indeed, I have tried my fair share of cupcakes but these are something else. My favourite is the Rasberry cupcake, unlike usual cupcakes the frosting is light and fresh and while in hot weather a box of these may get a little melted while walking around town, they won't last very long anyway!I made sure to get a little box of my favourites to bring home with me, and yes, begrudgingly I did share! If sweet treats aren't what you're craving they also do amazing other savoury bites, my favourite is their selection of sausage rolls. Ok, I've gone on enough about this place by now but really it was such an unexpected delight! Just take my word and go there, and when you do make sure to thank me!Of course we did other things except eat... well, in between eating. We walked around in the sunshine, did a bit of shopping and took a walk through Trinity College and a few other land mark destinations. The weather was so lovely everyone was out enjoying it. The shopping in Dublin was such a nice change from Belfast, as much as I love my own city it can sometimes be a bit repetitive when you go every weekend.On our last night (and first night if truth be told) we went to my boyfriends favourite place for dinner, Eddie Rockets. It's a place we go every time we visit Dublin. This American Diner is such a dinky place to eat. In true American style everything is red or black and white checkered with red leather booths and record machines. The food is all burgers and milkshakes as you would expect but really good burgers and milkshakes and the choices are endless. If you've a sweet tooth you won't be disappointed with their selection of deserts and milkshake variations including shakes with cookies, apple pie and coke floats.It was a lovely wee trip and if you can't stay away for the night the trains are handy (when they are running on time) to even just visit for the day for a bit of shopping. Here's hoping the weather will be as nice again soon!
If you go down to Bangor today you're sure of a big surprise...After a very much anticipated day out, my sister and I finally got around to going out for our lunch time treat. Teddy's which is a Restaurant/Bar in Bangor have been offering the adorable Teddy Bear's Picnic for some time now and my sister and I have been just dying to try it! The day finally arrived and I'm glad to say we were not disappointed. The adorable feast was presented on the equally adorable miniature wooden picnic table.I was particularly happy that the produce was all, as much as possible, sourced locally and I really think that made this whimsical delight extra special.Let's talk content. For those whose mouth is watering at the picture and wants the full details of this pick and mix of delights, the menu is as follows;The savoury selection includes a miniature burger, a cheese and leek quiche slice, a Cajun-type chicken bite and a fresh, delicious BLT sandwich on home-made poppy seed bread. All accompanied by a little bucket of fries.The sweet selection includes a dinky little milkshake, a sticky toffee pudding bite, a shot sized chocolate mousse and a lovely bowl of eton mess with a berry drizzle.Each element was thought out and executed perfectly. I have to say, as someone that loves my food I can have particularly high standards and considering my excitement to get it I was sure to be disappointed but no, to my delight it was perfect.I'm going to keep this short and sweet, go and try it! Really, I wish there was a single crumb of criticism but there wasn't, infact after scoffing this there wasn't a single crumb in sight for that matter... and if there had of been, I would have scoffed that too!
Teddy's website www.teddysofbangor.com
Teddy's Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Teddys-of-Bangor/111239052235572?fref=ts