Tuesday, 30 July 2013

July favourites

My third monthly favourites presented unto you here. (If you want to read the previous ones, click here.) I know that this is a little premature considering that we have another full day of July left before August but I'm just gonna go out on a limb here and assume that I'm not gonna discover a completely new life-altering (or blog-altering) thing until then.

favourite on tv/movie: I watched Silver Linings Playbook and I loved it. I loved it so much. It's just a movie about two dysfunctional individuals who meet and make a deal. A movie which is funny and kind of tragic at the same time. My heart was all fuzzy afterwards. TV in the summer is always a bit slow. The season finale of Mad Men was okay however Revolution (which has some pretty terrible flaws e.g. mediocre acting, character development and dialogue) suddenly got really exciting and now I just want it to be 2014 so I can watch the second season.

(Image from here. I tried getting my own screenshot but wouldn't work for some reason.)

favourite purchase: This has got to be my swimsuit and bikini. Hoping this bikini stays on at all times (I've got bad experiences with bikinis).

favourite music: I must be the only one in the world who discover albums first four years after they were released. Maybe I'm just retro a decade ahead of everyone else. A sucker for 2009. Anyway, lately I've become obsessed with Metric - Fantasies. It's electronic pop music with some really dreamy tunes. Perfect for running, incidentally.

favourite food: My graduation meal, hands down. I had duck confit and it was amazing. If you're ever in Northern Ireland and want to have a really really nice meal, you should go to Clenaghans.

favourite drink: No favourite drinks this month. I haven't ventured outside of regular coffees apart from my Mocha Cookie Crumble from Starbucks the other day and it was distinctly average.

favourite beauty item: I spent most of the month assuming that this would be my Dior BB Cream but shockingly, it's Boots All Bright Hydrating Night Cream (?!!). This ridiculously unassuming cream retailing for £3.49 has made such a huge difference to my face. Redness is minimised and I haven't had a single episode of skin flaking which is usually inevitable for me. (Don't get me wrong. The BB cream is amazing. But for a £30 price tag it better be.)

favourite blog: I started reading the xameliax blog just two days ago and it is just so nice. A little bit of beauty and other stuff.

favourite event: My graduation was obviously pretty awesome but somehow the graduation meal is what stands out the most from the entire day? I'm gonna say that it's because I obviously have such a brilliant family and substitute family (aka Steve's family) that dinner with them tops everything. Plus duck confit. Aaaaah.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Week thirty - being supersocial

I just can't imagine anyone's cooler than me when I use the word 'super'.

Images from my Instagram.

This was a weird week because I actually hung out with people every single day apart from Monday. Monday I had to go into Lurgan and sort stuff out. But Tuesday I had a friend over for tea and cake (she brought the cake - there was no baking involved), on Wednesday I helped Steve's mom babysit her grandchildren, on Thursday I went to a ridiculously nice lunch with a friend. That pulled pork sandwich nearly killed me. In the best way possible. Also I have a soft spot for coleslaw. On Friday I went to Belfast with Steve's sisters to celebrate a birthday and we went to Treat Boutique where I had this amazing cupcake (I'm not even a cupcake person) and then we went to the cinema. Grown up version of a wild night out, I wasn't home until after midnight.

On Saturday I forced Steve to go back to the bistro that I visited on Thursday and this time I had a "Belfast bap" with pastrami which was amazing but also ENORMOUS. I did not realise that a so-called Belfast bap is also the size of a normal person's head. In the evening when I had recovered from the meat-and bread-attack we went to a friend's house and then we went out. I had wine and drinks and overall it was a good night. Today was the type of day that was spent lying in bed most of the time apart from a short break when we went to the shopping center. A controversial sidenote; I tried the Mocha Cookie Crumble in Starbucks and it is too sweet, it is too much.

As you can see a large part of my week has been focused on food. That's the way I like my weeks and would have them this way all the time if I could. But I feel like I really deserved this ridiculously extravagant week since in three weeks I'm going on a holiday and until then I'm gonna be the healthiest person on Earth. Then I'll go back to pulled pork sandwiches. This week I also reached my eight weeks running goal! I've run for over 30 minutes continuously three times this week (and I survived, clearly). I've become so confident in my fitness ability that I even did a FitnessBlender workout tonight, which really is not a task taken lightly when you're hungover. The workout was completed and I didn't even feel that bad. Apart from during the lunges. Those lunges are my nemeses. I may try to fit in a couple of these workouts in between runs. Just to keep myself busy...

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Presenting my living room

Sometimes I tire of living in home that never ever seems to be fully furnished - and because I know myself all too well I suspect that once it is fully furnished I will want to change everything. I'm gonna stop my postponing of showing my living room because frankly, the majority of the readers of this blog have now seen it. At least the ones who are even remotely interested. Although there is a massive amount of things that I'd like to change about the living room, this is still the room that is the closest to done and also the room which me and Steve succeeded most successfully in when we merged our styles. There was some crazy amount of debates going on, I tell ya.

If you feel like playing a game; spot my reflection! Twice! Or spot the ugly TV (Steve's contribution to this room) or the technology bucket. Yes, I have a technology bucket. 

Future changes I would like to make are 1) adding a retro wing back chair next to our sheep-infested ottoman, preferably in a crazy colour. Or a crazy pattern. I feel like this room needs a bit more craziness. Also 2) in the corner where I now have a white IKEA bookshelf + flowers in a bottle I'd like a small sideboard (maybe teak?) and built-in shelves above it. I'm restraining myself when it comes to the built-in shelves until I find the perfect sideboard.*

*Maybe I already have but the current economic situation is preventing me from making insane and not very sensible purchases.... HINT.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Prepping for holiday: beauty and skincare

I was in Belfast last week and bought a couple of things that were absolutely necessary for my holiday. And a couple that were most likely not very necessary at all.... Usually when I buy skincare or beauty items I end up loving one or two items and I'm pleased with the rest of them but this time I love all of them. It's only fair that I say why, really.

Botanics All Bright Hydrating Night Cream
This was a ridiculously lucky purchase. My skin is incredibly dehydrated and my nose in particular borders on wanting to flake all about the place if I'm not careful with the creams I use, so I needed something to hydrate it but that also didn't leave my wallet weeping. Especially if I'm going to a very hot, dry country. My friend saw this and suggested it. This is the best budget night cream I've used, and probably the cheapest too (£3.49).

Una Brennan Super Facialist Tea Flower Pore Purifying Clay Mask
The only downside to this product is the ridiculously long name. Other than that, I love using this. I'm not hugely experienced with masks and I'm not very good with complicated routines either. Luckily, this does not require any specific face-expertise, it only takes five minutes and my pores look a whole lot better. Can't really ask for more.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer
I've been using a concealer from Burjois the past few months (which I loved) and it was with a heavy heart that I decided to try something new. This concealer is brightening, provides decent coverage (an absolute necessity since I have some pretty insane dark circles under my eyes. Thanks genes.) and costs basically nothing. Good purchase.

L'Oreal Telescopic False Lash Mascara (Waterproof)
A year ago I used a mascara from No7 (which I loved) and then I switched to a cheaper one from Burjois (which I didn't like at all) so I've been looking forward to buying the L'Oreal Telescopic for a good six months or so. Unfortunately I couldn't find the one that all the bloggers rave about. Fortunately I found this new formula and it is brilliant. My eyelashes have plenty of volume. They just have no length whatsoever, so some kind of magic lengthening ability is what I look for in a mascara and this has it. Plus it stays on no matter what I do during the day. Successful holiday purchase.

MaxFactor Miracle Touch Cream Blush
This was, strictly speaking, not a necessary purchase. But I don't own a single cream blush and I've heard so much good about this particular one.... So I caved. It is really pretty and I'm slowly getting better at applying it too. No regrets!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Week twentynine - summer

Images from my Instagram.

Another week that felt just like summer should feel is over. Because of the lovely weather I've spent most of my time sunbathing in the garden (and desperately trying to blur the ridiculously sharp tan lines that I've managed to get) but a few fun things happened. On Wednesday I went with my friend to Belfast because I needed a few things for the holiday (less than four weeks now) and then we went to IKEA which obviously pleased me to no end. In Belfast I got a bunch of things from Boots and I also got a pair of shorts and flipflops in Primark so I think I'm pretty much set for my holiday now. Or at least as set as my budget allows for!

On Friday night me and Steve both went to Belfast to go out with his work colleagues and I had an excellent night despite the fact that I had to drive home at 4am. I'm not great with driving yet and particularly not at 4am when my feet are sore and Steve is singing along to Daniel Bedingfield on the radio but I think it went pretty well. Only one or two minor freakouts because there were signs warning about stuff that didn't apply to me whatsoever. Saturday was spent eating junkfood and watching movies. Today we went for coffee and I've spent the day switching between reading The Hobbit and playing video games with Steve. I love Sundays like today.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Current books on my wishlist

I'm currently sitting in the shade of my garden and perusing the latest books that I desperately want to read (but I'm trying not to until I've read all of the ones we already have in the house. The Hobbit and Life of Pi are still only barely started.) I'm hoping by the time my holiday comes around I will have finished these books so that I can allow myself one or two new purchases...!

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
A book about a woman who relives her life over and over again in order to do it right. Which, honestly, sounds like a real pain. However I downloaded a sample of the book from Amazon and now I'm hooked. Set in the first half of the 20th century, the sample is entertaining with the promise of becoming really thrilling.

The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan
Like the previous book, this was also shortlisted for the woman's prize in Fiction. It surrounds a number of graduates from a prestigious American university (the name of it has escaped my mind at the moment. Probably Harvard) and the red book in which they have to update the details of their lives before each reunion which is then sent out to all graduates of that year. It looks fascinating. 

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
I never watched the movie because at the time of it's release I deemed it to be a chick flick and I was waaay too cool for chick flicks. And so I never bothered about the book either. However now tha the sequel to the book has been realised I suddenly realised that I might've missed a real gem. I downloaded the sample and it's hilarious. Perfect for a summer holiday.

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
Let's be honest. We all know why I want to read this book. Last week's revelation that the author is in fact JK Rowling has made it far more popular than it ever would have under the name "Robert" and obviously I also want to read it to see if I can spot all the familiar JK Rowling clues. I have however read several pre-revelation reviews and they are very flattering to dear Robert. A crime novel written by the creator of Harry Potter for adults? Yes please.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

10 reasons to smile 15.0

We're halfway through the month and it's Tuesday and Tuesdays are the worst days of the week, I think. Hence happy post!

John Lennon skateboarding, found on Pinterest.

one - I bought myself a bikini and a swimsuit from Asos with my graduation money so that I'm prepared for our upcoming holiday. They arrived yesterday and I love them. The bikini is River Island although it's more orange than pink in real life. It's still pretty cool. The swimsuit (Asos' own brand) was a complete bargain and looks so flattering on. (Probably my first swimsuit since I was.... 11?)

two - Today is grocery day delivery and it is (sadly) my favourite kind of day. Well-stocked fridges just gets me going.

three - After the laziest week in history when my family over, I got back into running last week. I decided to double the week 7 schedule (run 15 minutes, walk 1 minute, run 15 minutes) before tackling the 30 minutes constant running and it feels like a good decision. By this time next week I should have reached my goal!

four - Tomorrow I'm going to see my friend for coffee and then a few small beauty-related things need to be bought. Such as a waterproof mascara because I'm planning to live in the pool during my holiday.

five - Steve taught me how to play an online game that my little brother also plays. Yesterday the three of us played together and it was awesome. High-five for activities that shrink the distance between you and your brother!

six - I feel like it's properly summer for the summer in years and I think it's all thanks to the week of beautiful, hot weather that Northern Ireland just had. It's cloudy now (of course) but that's okay. I think I got my summer-fix for this year.

seven - Steve gets paid in nine days, his holidays start in less than four weeks and our trip to Malta happens in less than five weeks.

eight - Whilst my family was over I got a huge amount of driving done. Long-distance driving. It's still scary but nowhere near as scary as it was before.

nine - My Glossybox arrived yesterday and it was goood. This is my third good box in four months and I am quite impressed.

ten - Today is Tuesday and the only good thing about Tuesday is that we've decided it's take-away night! No cooking for me today.

P.S. If you want to read last year's happiness post in July, it can be found here.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The week of things getting back to normal

All my images are from my Instagram.

Hello weekly update blog post. It's been quite a while and I found myself missing it. It's strange how fun it is to document your life even when absolutely nothing is going on in it. This post will be quick because it's quite late and I'm currently downloading a game for the PC to play with Steve (and I'd like to get a chance to try it before we go to bed).

Mom, dad and my little brother were still here on Monday (if you've missed what's going on lately or you're completely new to the blog; my family were visiting for twelve days) and although we had originally planned to go into Belfast we eventually decided not to. It was just too hot and because it was the last day none of us wanted to stress about in shops. Instead we spent the day lounging in the garden and in the evening we went for a BBQ at Steve's parents' house. It was a perfect last day. On Tuesday morning I got up at 4.30am to bring my family to the bus station and when I came home I went out for a run. A 6am run. I'm finally that person. Over the next few days I mainly lazied about in the garden, planted a couple of new plants and herbs and filled out job applications.

The 12th July in Northern Ireland is a holiday which meant that Steve was off work on Friday. Hooray for long weekends! On the 11th we went out with our friends, although I only had a beer and the night ended fairly early with a pizza around midnight. On Friday me and Steve stayed at home and just enjoyed having a relaxing day, which was needed as we went out yesterday to a house party. Not that I regret a thing because I had tons of fun with friends and drinking games. And more drinking games. (I have a great love for games.) As a result, today we did nothing special. The weather is still amazing here and I'm in the proper summer spirit now that half of the summer has passed. Five weeks until my holiday, woohoo!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

June Favourites

Look at me, posting a post as part of a series. (Check out my May Favourites post.) Fancy. Although I'm ashamed to admit this, I woke up and thought "It's not too late to write my June favourites post, it's only like July 3rd" and then I realised it's actually the 11th and any moment now it'll be August. Oops. I had to really think about this stuff now that half of my favourites actually ended up being in July so there was a lot of effort put through this.

favourite on tv/movie: (yes, I took the liberty of changing the category so it now includes movies becaaauuse...) I saw Wreck-It Ralph and Warm Bodies with my friend Nicolette and they were both awesome. So awesome that I rewatched them with my brother when he came over. Both of them. Less than two weeks after seeing them. Wreck-It Ralph is great if you like animated movies or have a certain fondness for games. Warm Bodies is great if you like fantasy movies that don't take themselves to seriously.

favourite purchase: After my big birthday splurge with lots of expensive beauty products I feel kind of ashamed to say that the one that beat them all is the Rimmel Salon Pro in the shade Hiphop. I wore it for two weeks in June and I just put it back on. I can't help myself.

favourite music: The entire soundtrack of Warm Bodies. It's very teenage-y.

favourite food: I had calamaris at Cafe Avoca at the start of the month which was amazing, but the week after I went to the Merchant Hotel for afternoon tea and it was the best. They could've served the bread alone with nothing else and it still would've beat everything else I ate in June.

favourite drink: I learnt how to make iced coffee and it is pretty good for warm days. I had cocktails on my birthday that also tasted nice but I can't actually remember which ones I had. Whoops.

favourite beauty item: As this was a gift it does not count as a purchase and so I can happily say that my Real Technique brushes are the best. I wore more foundation than ever this month just because I was so happy with my foundation brush however I quickly discovered that the blush brush is an underrated gem. Now it's a tie between which brush my face loves the most.

favourite blog: This is always the most difficult category because I read a lot of blogs. I found a blog written by a young girl from the US, The M(squared) Story, about her and her husband and I just got stuck. She's unbelievably cute. And kind of opinionated. I'd recommend going back and reading about how they met, it's addictive.

favourite event: My birthday was awesome and all the things surrounding it, but my favourite must've been whenever my friend Nicolette was over from Sweden! It's been ages since I had friends visiting (not since the first year of living here) but this was extra-special as we grew up together. Miss her already.

June was a good month and July is not looking bad either!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

My family visits Northern Ireland

You may have noticed a lack of updating the blog the past two weeks. It's because my family (see first picture) minus one brother arrived early on Thursday and left early yesterday. I kind of thought that I'd have some free time for blogging, even just short posts. Oh how naive I was... (Wanna hear something slightly ridiculous? When my family had been here for about ten days, I had 200 unread blog posts in my Bloglovin feed. And I haven't even added all the blogs I like on Bloglovin. Addiction?) Everytime I sat down with my laptop I got pulled into an interesting conversation or an exciting movie (or, as was the case on the second Sunday, Mamma Mia which is neither interesting nor exciting but somehow I watched it anyway). There is also the issue of writing a blog which is primarily read by a small group of people... Who are suddenly all with you. Anyway. The first few days we relaxed and went shopping around here as well as in Belfast. I got my graduation dress four days before my graduation which was not my plan at all but I was too indecisive for so long that eventually I ran out of all my online options. I ended up getting a white dress from Urban Outfitters that I'll be able to wear again, so I'm happy!

On Sunday we went to Steve's parents' caravan, without Steve because he's an adult and not yet on holiday, for a couple of day. The caravan is close to Enniskillen which is b e a u t i f u l (see the upper three pictures). We played several games of 20 Questions The Board Game and I won three times. Important to know. On Monday we went to the town of Enniskillen for a couple of hours. I found the most amazing midcentury-style cupboard and immediately texted Steve to tell him to measure a specific space in our front room. Unfortunately there was a misunderstanding and he claimed that there was not enough space when there actually is. I will have trouble forgiving him for this (although in reality I have no idea how it was supposed to fit in the trunk of our car anyway. I might have offered to carry it the 63 miles home). Oh cupboard... On Tuesday we drove home to buy last minute graduation-essentials (underwear and a ridiculously expensive BB cream) and on Wednesday it was time for my graduation!

As you can see I was kitted out in the proper graduation gown which was surprisingly fun to wear. Dumbledore-jokes were made by all present. The ceremony itself went surprisingly smooth although my particular moment on stage is in a blur because all I remember was staring at my vice-chancellor in a daze and for a very short moment thinking "he knows who I am..." At least I never tripped. Even though I didn't get tickets for Steve and my brother the helpful guy at the ticket office instructed them to just stand at the doors and sneak in when everyone else was seated. It worked. There was a minor complete disaster with my graduation meal and so we had to change venue the same day which was an experience I could have done without. However, the new venue which was Clenaghan's was absolutely amazing. For main course I had duck confit which is one of my favourite meals and I would recommend anyone to go there. (There's very few things on the menu but everything tastes so good.) All in all it was an amazing day and I got a bunch of gifts from mine and Steve's family.

The day after my graduation I woke up and felt like I really could have done with a day without plans. This was not possible as I had promised that my family and Steve's parents were going to the north coast of Northern Ireland. And I had to drive. Luckily, it turned out to be one of my favourite daytrips ever. We went to see Giant's Causeway (the first picture), the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge and then we went to Portrush. I found the rope bridge particularly entertaining. However, my mom didn't realise she was afraid of heights until she was half-way over the bridge (which spans about 30 metres above water). She ran of the bridge (see second picture) into safety where she realised that to get back to the mainland she was going to have to cross the bridge again. Poor mom. The last four days the beautiful weather arrived to Northern Ireland and we spent the rest of the time just lounging in the garden and having dinners with Steve's family. It was twelve great days and I hope they visit soon again.